Not too long ago, a business could still be successful without being perfect. If the odd customer was left unhappy or unsatisfied, then it was unfortunate but business owners didn’t lose sleep over it. But times are quickly changing. With an endless supply of social media channels out there, the average disgruntled customer can quickly and easily post scathing reviews that may scare new customers away. It doesn't matter if the review is true or false, people read reviews AND believe them.
If your business and employees fail to perform at your customers' standards, then they will complain -- that's a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it’s a possibility that employees could get fired because of these complaints: "hell hath no fury" like an ex-employee scorned.
It takes more than a few positive reviews online to effectively combat negative social media rants. Here are 5 proactive tips to keep your reputation intact.
#1 Offer compensation for unsatisfied customers and set things right. If their business with you was somehow unpleasant, then be sure to offer some sort of reparation to encourage their future patronage.
#2 Never shrug off a complaint. All it takes is one negative tweet to that person’s 700 “friends” to bring an abrupt halt to visitor traffic on your site. And remember, people on the internet feel like they have a cloud of anonymity to hide behind, so they won’t hold back.
#3 Develop a group of positive, loyal customers that are willing to make the occasional positive post about your business. It might seem a little like cheating, but they are real customers who really like your business, so why not ask?
#4 Send small tokens of appreciation to your loyal and "happy" customers. It’s amazing how much people value even the smallest gift when it’s unexpected.
#5 Conduct exit interviews BEFORE you fire an employee. No one is more potentially harmful than an ex-employee when it comes to posting. That’s why having an exit-interview upon their termination is so important, it gives the individual a chance to clear the air and get their complaints out of their system so they don’t stay bottled up until they explode in a fury of angry tweets.
By following these 5 basic steps, your business can take a major proactive step in preventing negative online posts from affecting your business. If you are a service-based company, it's imperative that you stay on top of your company's online reputation (or hire a professional social media or marketing company to track posts and reviews for you!)