While that recent negative review on Yelp about your small business may have you panicking, it’s better to hear what’s wrong than have your customer go silent.
Silence often turns into disappearing customers. And, you can bet they won’t be silent to their friends. You’ll be bad-mouthed.
When a customer leaves and says nothing, you have no context for why or what you could have done better. That’s why, as bad as it sounds, customer complaints are actually good for your business.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll have bad customer complaints.
They can be really damaging and have even caused me to question why I’m even in business. Luckily over the years, I’ve learned that complaints can be a very good thing and teach you crucial things you need to do to improve your business. They even have helped me to become less stressed in my life.
When you remedy the problem immediately, research has shown that you not only can then win that customer back, but you also have a greater chance of keeping them over the long-term. Plus, you can gain new ones as this customer shares how great you were to them and what you have done for them.
Worried that negative feedback posted on social media or elsewhere is going to adversely impact your business? Be proactive about it then. Regularly review all the sites where you’re talked about to see what people are saying.
Acknowledge any negative feedback immediately. Respond appropriately. Others will see that you’re making a concerted effort to address these complaints through the comments you leave on these sites and will value you for your customer care and concern.
Lastly, remember that there are always going to be people who are just driven to complain but don’t really have actual reasons for doing so. While you can still address their comments, it’s important to know: You will never make every customer happy. Other people reading these complaints online will be able to separate legitimate complaints from those that have no merit.
The most important thing to do here is to acknowledge and communicate with the customer who complained. When you do address the customer complaint? Do so respectfully, ask questions to get more information about what they felt was bad, and provide an answer to them about what you plan to do.
Include the action and timeframe in which you’ll fix the problem. In this way, you have learned something new about your business and your customer base, and the learning experience can be used going forward to generate greater success.
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, author and contributing writer for Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, Inc., and The Huffington Post. Don’t miss his recent post on our beloved former CEO, Dave Goldberg on Business.com.
Reach out to John with questions here or leave a comment below!