There is a reason that the saying “you can’t please all the people all the time” is a popular one. It is especially true for online stores. The environment today with social media and review sites make it very easy for people to publicly complain about your company. In some ways it keeps companies in line and accountable for their customer service practices, and in other ways it just makes it easier for customers to complain about their experiences which may not be valid. The purpose of our article today is to cover the best ways for businesses to respond to online complaints and re-engage disgruntled customers to make them happy repeat customers.
Take Emotion Our of Your Response
The first and most important thing to do is to not get angry or defensive. Try to be as objective as possible with your response. This is actually the most difficult part of the whole response process because it is easy to feel like the complaint is a personal attack. If necessary, get a neutral party to help you formulate your response. When you are responding to a public complaint or review, it is important to keep in mind that you are not just responding to the customer; you are also responding to anyone else reading who is wondering what the outcome was and how you solved the problem. Therefore, even if you have resolved the issue with the customer, you must still take the time to respond to the public review or complaint.
Objective Response Tips:
- Apologize: Even if your company didn’t do anything wrong, apologize. It can be a simple, “We are so sorry about this problem with the delivery of your order.”
- List the Facts: Sticking to the facts helps you stay away from being perceived as argumentative.
- Be Empathetic: Show that you care and that you are working to resolve the situation.
- Take the Conversation Offline: Most fixes need to be done through private channels anyhow. Just let the general public know that you are fixing it. “Please email our customer service address so that we can get your order details and send you the correct product.”
- Do Not Give Too Much Away in Public: Unfortunately, if other customers see what complainers get, they might be encouraged to do the same.
- Apologize Again.
- Follow Up: When the issue is resolved, post a quick note on the social post or review site. “Thank you for working with us, happy to have resolved this issue with you. We appreciate your business.”
Build Trust, Gain Repeat Business
Unanswered complaints multiply your problems because you have no way of knowing how many potential customers did not purchase because they saw an unresolved complaint, or multiple complaints about the same issue. Make sure that your response shows that not only does your company care about its customers, but that you use best practices, and value all customers. Show that you learn from past mistakes and correct them. Customer complaints and reviews can spotlight a problem within your company. Another way to build trust and increase sales and your company’s reputation is to show that you have addressed and fixed a previously reported problem. Once the problem has been corrected, encourage new reviews to help show the public the change for the better.