Customer service is one of the most important issues when it comes to reputation management. Handling customers’ queries and problems quickly, quietly, and efficiently is a must in today’s online world. It takes only one disgruntled customer to have their say on a social media site and every other disgruntled customer will join them. Of course, not every customer will complain directly to you. Sometimes they will go straight to their Facebook or Twitter page.
This is where your customer service needs to lift a level and you need to become more proactive. Rather than getting involved in any online discussion with the customer, do a little research first; you may be surprised at what you find. There have been several reported news stories in recent months related to employees of one company pretending to be a customer of a competitor, and making disparaging remarks about that competitor.
A little research soon discovered that these individuals were not customers at all. This can make your approach much easier. For example, a simple response to a complaint could point out that you have not found any transactions related to that person so you might have to dig a little more for the details. In many cases, they will not respond at all leaving their complaint looking very weak. If they do respond, it will generally not be in answer to yours. Be nice – just restate your request for more information.
Don’t wait for customers to make complaints directly to you. Be proactive and keep your ear to the noise that is occurring on social media sites. You should also balance the need to respond with the overall effect that one comment could make. Does that person have 1,000 followers, or just 10? By making a big issue of the situation where there are only ten followers, you could escalate the issue and suddenly find they have several thousand followers, all watching the interaction.
If your customer service is up to scratch, you will able to identify what real problems are developing, and to be in a position to deal with them effectively. Your business’s reputation will depend on how well you manage this area of customer interaction.