When customers are trying to reach your business for feedback or assistance—whether it be online or not—you can be sure that the promptness of your reply will greatly impact how people think and feel about your business.
In an article written by Jay Baer, author of “Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers,” he talks about how your customers expect a response rate of 91 percent when they call, 89 percent when they send an email, and 42-53 percent response rate on social media. If you play your cards right and respond to your customers in a timely fashion, you can be sure to get way ahead of your competition and that means more business for the upcoming year.
No matter which platform you use to respond to customer complaints (social media, phone, email, online reviews, etc.), it is absolutely vital that you remain professional regardless of how angry and outrageous their claims may be. This is especially important if you choose to respond in a public forum such as social media or online reviews. Potential customers can read everything you say to your customers, and exactly how you respond to current customer comments may make all the difference in gaining their business.
Don’t let the negative reviews get you down; instead, think of it as a way for you learn more about your customers and what they want. This will help you grow as a business owner and point you in the direction you should be going.
The important thing is to remain calm and collected when dealing with an irate customer. This can be difficult, so take a few minutes to think about what you want to say. When you’re ready to respond, first thank the customer for contacting you and try to find out more information about what actually happened. Give them an easy way to contact you privately or directly, if needed, like your business phone number or email address. Assure them you are working to fix the issue and outline any steps you’ve already taken to address their problem. Urge the reviewer to contact you to talk further about the issue and/or the resolution.
Taking the time to offer assistance to the customer is very important. In a private conversation, it ensures your existing customers that you are listening to them and putting them first. That positive customer service experience can help to retain the customer and possibly ensures their loyalty down the road. Same goes for public responses: it shows both your current and potential customers that you do care and are willing to go to great lengths to solve any issues they may have.
Make sure you are also taking the time to respond to positive reviews and comments. Your customers took the time to share something nice about your business, so it’s important for you to take the time to reply and thank them. This demonstrates that you’re listening to each and every person who interacts with your business.
Whether you’re using social media or online reviews to respond to customers, you should come up with a general rule as to how quickly you will respond each time. Typically a reply within 24 hours is an acceptable business practice. Even though that might sound like a bit of an undertaking, you have to remember that when people leave a review online, it is fresh in their mind.
If you want to retain happy customers, it is wise to respond to them as quickly as possible. Set aside an hour block per day and use that time to do nothing but respond to your online reviews. In the end, you will create a greater customer service experience for your existing and potential customers.