Dealing with a customer is really different if you are face to face or if you have to deal online.
A lot of people feel that Internet is a place where they can speak freely and they are usually more sincere and even aggressive. In case of a bad experience with a business or a product, the first feeling they have is to “punish” you. They trusted your product/business and they feel themselves betrayed. For this reason customers are usually more aggressive online then offline.
Any company has to deal with customers that review their business and sometime in a bad way.
How to deal with them?
- Calm down
Nothing is personal, even the customer (especially in the case of small businesses) tries to talk at a personal level. So don’t react like you have been personally attacked. It is a business matter. Speak to the customer at a persona level but don’t react at the personal level.
Doing business is hard and doing it perfectly (without mistakes) is close to be impossible. Therefore try to understand if the customer is right even partially, it can help you to understand the real level of frustration the customer went through and how to solve the issue
If there had been a problem, you can think how to solve it, if not (and you are sure of that) it could be you have in front of you a “troll”, someone that it is trying to have visibility and maybe some advantages reviewing you badly. Your behavior will be completely different.
This is very important.
Internet is a place where fake news are able to propagate very fast. One of the reasons of that is because of the lack of a two-way communications.
Also if social networks are a platform to dialogue, if one of your friend posts something, you assume that is true because it comes from your friend.
This means that whatever is written is assumed as true.
You begin to doubt that the information you are reading is accurate only if somebody answers to that statement and try to give another opinion about the subject.
Same thing happens with a bad review: if it is unanswered everyone thinks it is completely true, if there is someone else (even the business owner) that gives another opinion about what happened, we judge it differently. Also if the fact described is true and the business owner assumes his responsibility the review becomes less interesting for everyone.
A bad review is like a bomb with a lighted fuse, if you answer it becomes an unexploded bomb.
- Don’t escalate
Internet is not a good place where you can dialogue. Writing is different than speaking and it is easy to misunderstand each other. The communication is asynchronous so it is very hard to be able to explain yourself.
Therefore talk to your disappointed customers but don’t dialogue with them because it is easy to make things even worst.
Avoid any “but”, go direct to the point. If you made a mistake, say “sorry” but don’t explain too much. Your goal is to solve the problem not to give more reasons to your disappointed customer to continue his crusade. That customer is very frustrated and you don’t want to escalate his frustration.
- Don’t panic
A lot of good businesses have some bad reviews. You cannot make all the customers happy.
So don’t panic if you have a bad review, it will not destroy your reputation and credibility.
If you have only bad reviews, there is something wrong with your business. But having some of them means nothing. Learn from your mistake and consider a bad review a possibility to improve your processes and your relation with your customers.
If you show how good you are in managing your customer, you will be granted by a positive effect, probably higher than having only good reviews.