Social media brings word of mouth marketing to a whole new level. Thanks to user generated content sites, consumers are more empowered than ever to voice their opinions and share their experiences with the rest of the world.
One of the biggest advantages for companies who utilize Social Media tools is the having the ability to respond to customer feedback: the good, the bad, and yes- the ugly. Rather than fear negative feedback- turn it inside out and view this as an chance to respond to the feedback and build trust with your customers. This as an opportunity to show the public that you listen.
Here is an example: A few years ago found some negative comments about a restaurant managed by someone I knew in a popular dining blog. The comments were posted by an angry customer who had received terrible service while dining. I contacted her to see if she was aware of this. She was aware, but wanted to ignore them so she would not draw further attention to them. She felt that the incident the customer was referring to happened so long ago that it did not matter. However, it did matter- the damaging comments still came up when I did a search!!
She explained that the server who had given the poor service had been terminated, and the customer was given a generous gift card and an apology from the manager. However, this did not stop the customer from going to this site and writing a damaging statement in the comments section. You do not have to be a marketing genius to know how ONE bad review for a fine dining establishment can really hurt business.
I strongly advised her to get in touch with the writers of the blog and let them know some negative feedback has been published about her establishment and request an opportunity to make it right by inviting them to dinner. I also advised her to log into the review site, create her own account with her identity clearly visible and to directly respond to the accusations directly in a diplomatic and respectful manner. Perhaps she could say-
“Thank you for your honest feedback. Our customer satisfaction is very important and we regret that you had the experience described. We handled the situation by……..Please let us know how we could have handled it differently in order to serve you better. We hope to have the opportunity to make it right.”
If I were an outside reader and I came across a genuine, proactive response to poor feedback – I would be more inclined to give that establishment a second look.
Bottom line: Ignoring negative feedback is not going to make it go away. Address negative comments directly and with grace. This gives you an opportunity to learn and grow as an organization and communicate your key message to other customers. By doing this, you demonstrate that you are in tune with your customers.
If your business is not using social media to connect to customers, you are missing a big opportunity. Here are some tips for businesses to utilize social media tools:
- Create a Google Alert for your business. Place the title of your business in quotes like “Out of the Box Marketing”. You have the option to receive these alerts daily.
- Conduct a regular audit for your business using Social Mention. This will search online content and filter it all into a report for you to go through.
- Regularly search consumer review sites for your brand (like travel sites, electronics sites, Google Reviews)
- Create a Facebook page for your business (if you have not already done so) and invite feedback from your consumers!