Office dwellers are probably familiar with the art of composing (or receiving) a passive-aggressive workplace email. Thanks to digital media and opinionated consumers, complaining in the 21st century has morphed into a very public activity.
Social media enables instant feedback, and as a result, online customer relationship management has become a full-time job all of its own. It’s more important than ever to demonstrate positive digital communication and resolution with your customers, and thankfully it can be a simple exercise.
Speak their language
It might seem obvious, but if a customer is invested enough in your business to complain about something, they want to feel as though they and their messages are valuable to your business. The best way to give them that feeling is through your direct personal communications. When a customer reaches out, aim to respond to them in a way that shows them understanding and compassion. Representing your business in such a positive light can only improve customers’ overall experience, even if their initial problem remains unsolved.
…but don’t neglect your own
Using a unique and consistent tone of voice for your business’ social media communications lets your customers know what to expect. Communicating on behalf of a business is like singing in a choir; the aim is to blend in with a universal sound. The beautiful thing about that universal brand voice is the familiarity it generates over time, which in turn breeds trust, and ultimately repeat business. It’s for this reason that most brands have style guides for language usage.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep
Dissatisfied customers generally appreciate a discount or special offer in return for their investment of time and energy. Who wouldn’t love a voucher in return for their 200-word complaint on Facebook? Here’s the problem: fix-it promises are a double-edge sword in the event that they remain unfulfilled. Customers really don’t love empty promises, and social media enables them to be vocal about it. Negative consumer-generated content is one of the most detrimental forces a business can encounter, given the potential for escalating tensions on social media, so be smart about what you promise online.
Follow up personally
If a customer’s business is important to you, check in with them after the fact to find out whether the situation was managed to their satisfaction. Make sure anything promised to them was delivered and ask them whether there’s anything else they need. Going the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction has earned positive media attention for brands in the past, and free publicity (especially the positive kind) can’t hurt.
Whenever possible, take things offline
The faster you can get in touch with the customer away from the prying eyes of all your other customers and social media users in general, the better. Most consumers consider feedback and reviews from other customers to be much more trustworthy than any business-generated content, so in the event of a complaint or serious issue, do what you can to manage the situation offline.
Your customer relationship management is a huge part of future-proofing your business. If you’re looking for social media advice, give us a call or send us an email.