When It Comes To Your Business Reputation – Online Matters!Dana Bojcic
Election day has me thinking about the important role online presence and opinions have played this year. Just like our candidates, local brands and companies are living their lives online and consumers are sometimes left weary and wondering what is true and what is just “a bad review.”
There are absolutely times we all have very little control over our online presence and reputation. However, there are countless things we can and should do to ensure we are putting our best possible image forward, and most of it boils down to outstanding online customer service.
As a business, you can do everything possible to earn your customers trust and favor, however, in this digital age, if you are not careful, all your efforts can be undone in an instant.
We need to understand how important customer service actually is. According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service. And when they do, they expect a fast response. 42% of consumers expect a response with 60 minutes.
So how do you handle bad online reviews or negative comments to your digital marketing efforts? There are tons of blogs on the subject and after scouring through them, I have narrowed it down to what I feel are the two most important tips.
- Respond Quickly! Time is of the essence and responding within 1 hour is a great place to start, 30 minutes is even better. You don’t need to be able to solve the problem within an hour – that is not what this is about. This is about acknowledging the issue and letting the customer know you are looking into it. Provide a realistic time frame of when you will be back in touch to manage expectations and to keep the situation from escalating. Keep in mind, being responsive is a 24/7 job and it is critical that your level of service remains consistent even at night and on weekends.
In fact, according to a study from Convince & Convert a prompt response is expected:
“Our research found that among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.”
Consumers expect round the clock support and you will need to plan and staff accordingly.
So the first step is responding immediately, which leads to the next tip…
- Be human. Join the conversation! Address any issues while maintaining a professional and polite tone. Call the person by name, let the person you are chatting with know your name. Social Media Examiner has some excellent examples for how to handle customer complaints. When customers reach out to you with a negative social comment, they’re typically looking for you to acknowledge and help resolve their problem. If you respond with an automated reply, you’re sending a message that you haven’t taken time to understand the issue and don’t value the customer’s input.
Reassure your customers:
- Reply to comments using a conversational tone.
- Include the customer’s name in the response.
- Let the customer know how you will fix the issue.
- If it’s a mistake, take ownership
- Acknowledge the customer’s situation in your response
Use humor when appropriate and have some fun with it! The more personal the response the better. Be sure your customer service team is empowered to have a little leeway in their responses and is trained to be empathetic and helpful.
While these are not the only tips to consider, they are an excellent place to start. Excellent customer service leads to positive opinions from your consumers and consumers often rely on the opinions of others when making purchase decisions. According to Zendesk, 88% have been influenced by an online customer service review when deciding what to buy.
An additional way Vici can help you is with our Online Reputation Management tool which is included in every Search Engine Optimization campaign we do!