Must Do: Build a process for receiving online feedback
Fact: People are going to talk about you/your brand whether or you’re online or not. They may do it on social media by way of an unruly or offhand tweet as they react to a customer service experience, or they may take the extra step to leave a review on an online review website like Yelp or Travelocity. It could be positive or negative, or completely ridiculous. Haven’t we all read at least one of those (today)?
Whether online feedback is positive or negative, it probably requires a response. It is much easier to respond in a rational, strategic, and empathetic way if you’ve thought about it ahead of time. Having a plan in place will ensure that every complaint is handled equally and in a way that
Each compliant is different and each brand should handle them individually, but here is the advice I always pass on:
I once shared an office with a man named Jim Olver (Direct of Guest Services, The Banff Centre), who is highly regarded as a customer service superhero. Jim taught me this: Most times, you’re correcting the misperception for guests that their cares and concerns are being ignored or disregarded. If you can remember that the key to customer service is ensuring they’ve been heard and understood, everything else you can do to correct and improve their situation will be icing on the cake.
The most important thing is to take the time to (truly) listen, demonstrate that you’ve heard them, and prove that their complaint matters to you because you genuinely care of about their experience.
Jim would always say: a complaint is a gift because it’s an opportunity to solve a problem. And he’s right! How great that you’re given the chance to correct it, publicly, to demonstrate how you value your customers. On the internet, it’s the best PR you can get.
Get a plan. Practice. Take no shit. Do good.
Create a plan NOW for how your process, and implement it across all channels. Decide now what you can offer people with negative experiences – an apology, a free service, a re-schedule, a personal phone call? Determine your tone and decide who should be the one to reach out – a manager, an ominous social media ‘we’, or a customer service manager?
Tips for online customer service:
1. Respond quickly: Chances are they’re speaking up because they don’t think anyone will be impacted. Show them you’re listening, and you’re ready to get engaged by responding. Thank them for letting you know, and get to work being a customer service all-star.
2. Take it offline whenever possible: Some people may want to air dirty laundry all over the front yard – nothing you can do about those people. But most genuinely want their problems solved. Offer up a phone number and/or email for them to send you full details, or ask them to private message/DM you their info so you can reach out. Thank them for letting you help, so your followers can see you’re fixing the situation (they’ll appreciate knowing you care enough to reach out to a stranger).
3. Don’t put up with abuse. If someone is beaking off, state what you know to be true, never close the door to productive conversation, and remember that the strategy has now changed: it is now your job to ensure every ELSE can see how great you are – demonstrate that you are confident in your product/service, that you care, and that you’re transparent. Be kind. Be cool. Don’t put up with bullshit.