Do You Give Your Brand a Bad Name? How NOT to Handle Mad Customers Online

Thumbs DownMore years ago than most of us would like to admit, there was a famous hair band that sang about a girl who gave love a bad name. But when it comes to managing the angry customer on a social network, like Facebook or Twitter, small businesses can find that they are giving their own brand a bad name.

Learn whether your company’s interactions with angry social media customers are hurting your online reputation by asking these questions:

Do you or employees representing your small business on social media…

  1. Delete posted complaints? Unless the message is abusive or threatening, avoid the urge to purge the comment from the Facebook Page or other social feeds. Transparency has become valuable currency in a virtually-navigated world. Customers who realize you’ve deleted complaints from them or others are less likely to trust you.
  2. Let complaints collect dust? Facebook or Twitter complaints aren’t like letters that could sit in a desk inbox for days before being dealt with. Put a priority on posted rants or complaints and deal with them quickly, preferably within hours.
  3. Allow the inner snark to rear its head? While many of us enjoy genuinely awesome customers, there are always a few who make it hard to be nice. But on social media networks, where everyone else is watching and comments can quickly go viral, small businesses need, at minimum, to be polite. And, yes, that will be tough sometimes.
  4. Fail to admit “I don’t know”?  Even the smartest, savviest, most organized small business pro doesn’t have all the answers all the time. If you’re not sure how to solve a problem or even where to begin, let the customer know you don’t have an answer at that moment—but let them know when to expect one.
  5. Fail to say “I’m sorry?” As hard as small business owners try, mistakes happen. And when those mistakes are shared by customers on Facebook or other social media networks, the rest of the world knows about them, too. It is okay, and, in many cases, good business policy to fess up to the oops.
  6. Fail to resolve the problem? Saying “I’m sorry” is a good start, but it’s not enough. Any customer service pro will say that the way to keep a customer happy is to reach a resolution quickly. Solving the problem shows the unsatisfied customer—and anyone else following the feed—that you genuinely care about their experience with your brand.

Owners and entrepreneurs don’t mean to ding their own online reputation. Sometimes it happens because we get “too busy.” Other times, brand online reputation takes a hit because we just don’t know any better yet. But whether you’re a startup or an established small business, creating a positive online reputation is key to building trust with prospects, customers, and buyers. What’s more, building a great reputation online is a smart way to set your company apart from the competition.

How have you ever changed your perception of a business based on how it handled a customer complaint via social media? Can you share additional tips for dealing with angry customers posting on Facebook, Twitter, etc.?



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