When it comes to reputation management and generally looking after the image of any brand, it’s natural to both target and focus on only the most positive customer experiences. However, ask any business guru and they’ll tell you the same – it’s actually the negative experiences that can be pure gold.
Ask yourself – when was the last time you ever saw a brand, a product or a service provider with 100% flawless feedback and didn’t think it was to some extent fabricated? It just doesn’t happen – you can’t please all of the people all of the time and to focus only on those that already love you doesn’t bode well for brand reputation management.
One of the biggest problems is the way in which those not happy with your best efforts to date get labelled as the kind of people that are just out to cause trouble. Here’s an attitude that will never put the business in the right frame of mind to rectify what went wrong and a golden opportunity is missed. Providing excellent service is a standard expectation, but to go above and beyond the call of duty to reach out to those you’ve apparently short-changed is on another level entirely.
Five-star ratings look good on paper, but not nearly as good as evidence of clear efforts to win over even those that seem impossible to please.
There are essentially three ways by which you can transform a negative customer experience for the benefit of all involved, which are as follows:
If the negative feedback has been noted on say Twitter, Facebook, any online forum or your own website’s feedback page, the best and most important approach is to respond…and fast. Even if you know you’re right and their complaint is far from well-founded, it’s a case of showing yourself to have a genuine interest in all negative comments and a relentless desire to improve your way of doing business. This way, everyone that reads the negative comment will then immediately read your response, which does a great deal more than just counter the accusations made and the complaints of the disgruntled party. And even if the party in question remains wholly unable to win over, other readers won’t be so resistant.
If you receive a series of complaints or even just a single complaint of a relatively serious nature, you can make something of a public apology/response. This is often the primary tactic used by the world’s biggest businesses, from which you may have come across messages and posts like:
We apologise to all of our subscribers for the unscheduled service outage on 24/11/2013 – rest assured we’re working hard on the problem for the sake of our customers to ensure the same doesn’t happen again.”
Generally speaking these kinds of apologies aren’t interpreted with quite the same oomph as a personal apology to a dissatisfied customer, but they are nonetheless of huge importance when and where needed.
Watch the Web
And finally, it’s not possible for anyone to keep tabs on hundreds of thousands of web channels all at the same time – you need software to do it for you. It’s so important to use the necessary tools to watch the web for mentions of your brand as to respond to a complaint in what could be a highly unusual or remote location can be to show all that read the message the lengths you will go to in order to please your customers.