An unhappy customer aired their complaint on social media and the trashing my company got on the Internet has left me feeling like closing my doors. People who didn’t have a legitimate complaint jumped on the bandwagon just to join the negative rant. We have policies for addressing complaints and would have gone out of our way to help the customer, but when they choose instead to take it to the Internet, I just feel defeated. How can a company defend their reputation?
These stories make my stomach hurt because I too am a business owner and I can sympathize. While you as the owner can set up company policies and procedures to keep your customers happy, most owners can’t be at their business every second of every day. You have to trust that your employees will adhere to the systems you put in place for customer service, but the reality is, employees will not always follow protocol. Even with your best effort, you will never have a 100% approval rating.
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The strategy I advocate for adverse events in companies is to pull out all the stops to fix the problem that resulted in the complaint. To start with, if you feel you need to respond to the Internet complaint, send out a well-written statement. Post it once and then let the negative comments die a natural death.
If there is a way to make things right with the initial complainer, do so. They may have a change of heart and take to social media to praise how you handled their complaint.
Now is also a good time to take an honest look at how your company is performing. It’s easy to blindly go along with the status quo, but that may not be working for you, and this incident may be the wake-up call your company needed. You have the power to turn this negative event in to a positive; it’s all up to you.
The final “elephant in the room” we need to talk about here is the internet reviews and postings that are done by anonymous internet trolls. These trolls post anonymously. They post false information that is inflammatory and intentionally designed to get a reaction from the crowd. Nothing makes them happier than getting a thread of negative posting going.
Here’s the good news about internet trolls…the majority of people who read reviews are smart enough to know what comments are trolling and what are legitimate. As the business owner, you can heed my earlier advice and write a professional response to a negative review, then let it die a natural death.
Or, you can take a bold and aggressive stand and let the internet trolls “have it”. I’ve been known to call them cowards and challenge them to post their real name and meet me face to face to voice their complaints. If you decide to take a bold stand, I recommend you let the trolls “have it” with one posting, then let it be. Let them rant on. Let them have the last word, and get back to work running your business!
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• What do you need to do to tackle this head on?
• How can you rebuild from this glitch to your companies reputation?
• What will you do to make your company better?
• What does your psyche need to soothe the downer feelings this has generated in you?
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