The online world is swarmed with netizens and abuzz with talks on brands/ products/ companies. Positive and negative conversations around these brands abound.
Did you know that more than 90% of negative online conversations are about customer complaints? Apart from online complaints forum, even popular online social networking sites like Facebook & Twitter serve as a medium for a user to vent his displeasure about a product/service, etc.
So how do you deal with the negative conversations taking place in the virtual world? Ignoring them can be a big mistake. Instead, dealing with them proactively and effectively can carry the good word about your business that all your marketing efforts put together can’t. But first, who writes negatively about your business online?
• A customer who is not happy with your products/services
• When a customer is not happy with your complaint/response management • An unethical competitor
What should we do?
• Figure out the problem: Whenever you come across an online negative opinion about your business, try to understand the motivation behind the post. Is it a disgruntled customer? Is it a customer who is asking out for help? Or is it a competitor who is driving the conversation with some meaningless facts? Try to align your response according to that.
• Offer a customized solution: You shouldn’t follow the ‘One-size-fits-all’ approach here. Understand the queries carefully and offer a customized solution for them.
• Approach in a private channel: When you see a group driving a negative online conversation, give them a contact number or an email address to get the problem resolved instead of you engaging in a lengthy conversation at the online space itself.
• Make it quick: The faster you solve a customer complaint online, the better it is. If you just let it go, you will end up watching people joining the band and spoiling you’re even more. You have a much better chance of retaining a customer when you respond to his complaint quickly and appropriately.
What shouldn’t you do?
• Ignore them: Few businesses believe that ignoring a negative opinion might make the one who filed a complaint, forget about it and go away. This is not the right approach because it will frustrate the customer even more and make him more abusive about your customer service.
• Delete them: Deleting a negative opinion/customer complaint online is a bigger mistake than ignoring it. It will anger the customer further and he may vent it more furiously in his personal networks
• Respond Aggressively: Thirdly, do not respond to a negative complaint in an unpleasant, harsh and strong tone. Your business shouldn’t appear aggressive even in the worst of situations as there are chances of those conversations going viral through social media channels.
• Make it personal: Never let the online negative conversations affect your ego. Hence, do not make personal comments
Taking Tech help: • Set up ‘Google Alerts’ for your brand name accompanies with some negative keywords Eg. XXX Complaints, XXX reviews, XXX waste – where ‘XXX’ is your business’s name
• Consistently monitor for discussions about your business using tools like BoardReader (for Forums), Radian6 (For Social Media) and TweetDeck (for Twitter) •
• Check out online complaint forums like www.complaintsboard.com, www.complaints.com, www.complaintcommunity.com, www.customerservicescoreboard.com, and www.pissedconsumer.com on regular intervals for your brand mentions.