The following is a guest post by Natalie Smith is a freelance copywriter from Seattle who writes about topics related to marketing, customer service, social media, entrepreneurship, and business in general. You can reach her @Natalie Smith.
Customers are the main driving force that makes your business successful, so you want to keep them satisfied at all times. However, the sad reality is that you can have the most amazing products or services in the world, but there will still be customer complaints.
And even if you have 1,000 happy customers and one negative customer, that one can still do plenty of damage. In the world of social media, one complaint that goes viral on Facebook can hit your business hard, affecting its reputation and driving away potential customers.
Fortunately, you can turn things around even if a customer leaves you a negative Facebook review. Here are five ways you can turn that reviewer into a loyal customer.
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1. Exercise Patience
It’s difficult to respond to a negative review of your company without being somewhat emotional – that´s perfectly normal and only shows that you are human. However, to prevent responding in such a state and making even more damage, it is essential to make sure that you’re in the right frame of mind first. You don’t want to respond to a negative review when you’re angry or upset because you’re liable to say something that you’ll regret later.
Start by taking a few deep breaths to make sure you’re completely calm. When you read the review, be open to the possibility that your company may have done something wrong. Most of all, put yourself in the reviewer’s shoes so you can better understand how they’re feeling. Once you have gathered your composure, it is much safer to proceed with a reply.
2. React Promptly
While you want to make sure that you’re calm when you respond, you also need to write that response in a timely manner. When a customer contacts a company on social media, research shows that many of them expect a response within an hour, so it’s imperative that you respond to them as soon as possible.
Avoid making a customer wait around for your reaction. Not only will they become further frustrated by waiting, but it also makes your company look as if it doesn’t care about its customers. That is highly unprofessional, and you don’t want to come across as someone who couldn’t care less. To avoid that, make sure to monitor your company Facebook account every day. If you cannot do it alone, have someone do it for you – just don’t miss any customer comments or complaints.
3. Know When to Apologize
The tone of your response is very important to how well-received it is going to be. You want your response to be compassionate, which means you should avoid any irony or arrogance. Don’t argue with the customer or try to prove them wrong as it will make you look combative.
The first thing to do is admit the problem, thank them for letting you know about it, and apologize to them. Avoid claiming that the problem isn’t your company’s fault, as it will look like you aren’t willing to take responsibility.
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Make sure that you show your understanding of the situation in your response. When you respond in a friendly manner and demonstrate an understanding of your customer, they’ll feel like their business is appreciated, making them far more likely to give you another chance. Also, it will make you look good in front of your other Facebook fans and followers.
4. Solve the Problem
Of course, saying that you understand the issue doesn’t help much if you end your response there – you also need to resolve the issue for the reviewer.
In some cases, you’ll know the correct resolution immediately. Perhaps a customer bought a product that turned out to be defective, so you replace that product and provide them with a store credit for their inconvenience. Another strategy is asking the reviewer their opinion on how to resolve the problem. This shows them that you value their opinion. Everybody likes to feel included, so you cannot go wrong if you make your customers participate.
When you resolve the issue, make sure that you notify the reviewer about it publicly so that your Facebook audience and their own sees your company has excellent customer service. This is yet another example of how you can turn this situation around and actually profit from it.
5. Make Additional Effort
Social media platforms, including the ever so popular Facebook, are a great way to attract new customers. However, it is not enough to give them great content and resolve their complaints – if you really want to turn them into loyal customers, you need to keep the communication alive. Remember – making an additional effort always pays off.
So, after you resolve a customer’s issue to their satisfaction, follow-up with them in a week or so. You can ask them if everything is okay or send them information on new products you’re releasing. You may even want to surprise the customer with a coupon code or another kind gesture. They will appreciate it more than you know it.
What you can also do is chat with them, ask them questions, and respond to their all of their comments – not only to their complaints but also to their compliments. If they say something nice about your brand, thank them. If they ask a question, answer.
Staying connected with customers is a great way to keep them coming back and wanting to do business with you. Just make sure to keep them engaged.
Final Words on handling a negative review
It’s hard to read negative Facebook reviews and comments, but they’re also impossible to avoid. Instead of being negative and looking at them as disasters, look at them as opportunities to improve, to demonstrate great customer service to everyone who reads the interaction, and to convert reviewers from angry to satisfied customers.
When you write a well-crafted response that shows you understand your customer’s frustration and solves their problem, it can make all the difference in the world. And if you proceed to make additional effort to surprise them and keep the communication alive, you will earn yourself a loyal customer.