This is a guest post by Jay Buerck.
You’ve been following the conversation about your brand using one of the many monitoring tools available to help you manage and monitor your online reputation and now it has caught wind of a few negative comments or posts about you or your company.
No one likes to discover negative comments and reviews but many times it is the price of doing business. While you can’t please everyone all the time it still stings a little when you see those negative words on the screen.
Over half of all Americans use social media networks to communicate to companies either through their Facebook page or Twitter accounts. So why are 95 percent of all posts on Facebook pages going unanswered with response rates on Google, Yelp, and other review sites about the same rate?
Many brands are missing a chance to gain new clients and customers as 88 percent of individuals say they are less likely to do business with a company who fails to respond to these incidents openly and online.
Paying attention to customer complaints on Facebook and Twitter could lead to more sales online. Customers have taken to social media when it comes to customer service complaints because of the convenience and lack of waiting on hold to speak to a customer service representative.
Recent reports have shown that customer complaints that are resolved through social media result in a 21% increase in sales than if customers were to engage in traditional forms of customer service methods such as calling, emailing, or writing an actual letter. Compare that to just 11% more sales from those traditional means.
“It’s not about being perfect, it’s about the response,” says Deborah Mitchell, a clinical associate professor of marketing at Ohio State University to the Wall Street Journal. “People like to feel like the company was proactive in responding, and bent over backward to fix it.”
Building a Strong Customer Service Reputation
Responding quickly and publically to reviews can help in limiting the damage to your online reputation. Consumers like to see that you do care about customer service and choose to do business with companies that have a strong sense of customer service.
There are many avenues that customers can take in posting comments including your Facebook page or post on Twitter but be sure you are using services to monitor the entire conversation as part of your reputation management strategy.
Due to the amount of websites dedicated to consumer complaints, both fabricated and over dramatized you can never be too cautious in monitoring what is being said about your name or brand. Setting up Google Alerts and Social Mention is an easy way to track to the conversation both on the web and throughout the social community.
Establish a Response Strategy
You should work on establishing which comments you will respond to on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels but be consistent with equal treatment of all posters. If your strategy is to reply only to negative comments then only reply to negative comments or maybe will you choose to reply to all comments, maintaining consistency is most important.
If you’ve begun your monitoring your practices you should be able to catch any and all conversations. Once these monitoring programs return a comment, be sure to put your response strategy to work and respond quickly and effectively.
Be Proactive in Controlling the Conversation
There are many ways in which you can use reviews and testimonials to your advantage. Gaining customer testimonials simply by including a call to action in a thank you email can do the trick. From there you can post those reviews at your site or you can create a separate site such as yourbusinessreviews.com.
Creating a separate site for your reviews and testimonials is an excellent reputation management strategy. You should include your company name in the domain so that it can begin ranking for your name and will take up some valuable search engine results page real estate for searching involving your company name.
When it comes to reacting to customer’s complaints online, your first reaction should never be to blast the individual in a profanity laced tirade. Responses to negative comments should be timely and in a professional manner. Not only will you produce happy customers but you will be building up a solid base for a positive online reputation.