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How to Deal With Online Complaints

05 Jul 2019 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

One of the things many business owners fear most about having a social media presence is unfair customer complaints. In some cases the customer isn’t always right and it may seem that few things would be more detrimental to your business than a disgruntled customer out to destroy you. Worse still is the threat of a competitor posing as a customer for the same reason. Here’s how you can handle such complaints in the best way and why you shouldn’t let them worry you.

At Your Service

First of all, a customer complaint is a great opportunity to show your superb customer service. Think, who would you be more likely to hire - a company who has little to no online presence and thus absolutely no evidence of their customer service skills? Or a company who has had 1 negative review in 10 and dealt with it quickly and efficiently, ultimately leaving the customer feeling satisfied? Accidents happen, from faulty balloons to communication errors but if potential customers can see that you will be proactive and go above and beyond to put things right every time, they’ll feel much more reassured that they’re in safe hands, whatever happens. 

Rectify or Reassure

If you’ve been given a justifiably negative review, once you’ve rectified the situation, don’t be afraid to ask the customer if they would mind going back to update their comments to reflect this. Most customers leave reviews simply to help other customers know what your business is like so, if you’ve turned things around and ultimately left them feeling satisfied, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t want to spread the word. As long as you ask nicely.

Sometimes there’s no reasoning with a complainant and that’s ok. Instead, in your reply take the time to calmly and professionally explain your business practises and policies so that future potential customers understand how they can avoid the same situation. Take care not to accuse the customer who left the review but instead to explain how and why you did everything you could to make this particular situation right. Don’t descend into a back and forth argument, just state your side and let it be. Think of potential customers reading the review and your reply. You don’t want to come across as confrontational or difficult to work with, you just want to reassure them that the same issue won’t happen to them.

Focus on the Positives

Instead of worrying about the odd negative review, focus on the potential for the many, many positive reviews that will far outweigh them and on how much business these will bring. A business with no reviews will rarely do better than one with even 4 out of 5 stars. Each time you have a happy customer, don’t be afraid to ask them if they would take the time to write you a quick review. A simple Instagram comment like, ‘Josie loved her balloons!’ or even just a star rating on Facebook or Google takes one click but will make all the difference when new customers are looking. Is there an incentive that you can offer customers to remember to review you too? Focus on building these positive reviews and any negatives will be buried in no time.

Learn and Improve

All reviews, good or bad, are an opportunity to better understand your customers and improve your business. We’ve all had customers who say they will book again, never to return... Some people are shy about giving face-to-face feedback. Online reviews allow them to be honest which means really getting to understand your customers' needs and thus better serve them. Is there a recurring issue that you could easily clear up? Perhaps there’s a pricing point that you could make clearer right from the time of booking. Even better, is there an element of your business that lots of customers rave about in your reviews? Reviews help you to learn what customers appreciate the most about your business so that you can highlight your best selling points on all your pages. 

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