So How Are You Going to Handle Negative Reviews?

We’ve written before about online reputation management, and as social media becomes more pervasive, this issue is not going to go away.

There is nothing you can do to prevent people from writing about your customer service. And worse – there’s nothing to keep them from capturing video, publishing it, and having it go viral! Remember the video that showed the FedEx employee throwing the delivery box over the fence? Ouch.

Your company is no different from any other company, or any other person. We – or our employees – are going to make mistakes. Or maybe we are going to make a decision about pricing or service that a customer just doesn’t like. Or there’s a simple misunderstanding (cultural? gender-based? age? disability related?) that causes someone to write something negative about your company.

If you have an idea now about how you will handle the inevitable – but hopefully infrequent – complaints, you should be able to resolve those issues with a positive ending. Maybe your employee did act incorrectly. Maybe your pricing scheme could be modified. Or maybe the employee has a disability that impacts his hearing, and he wasn’t actually being rude. Taking responsibility quickly, promising to get to the bottom of a dispute and making it right with the customer, goes a long way not just with that customer, but with your other customers and prospects who are watching to see how you handle it.

Sometimes it’s better to let the person rant, particularly when it’s evident that his complaint is irrational. Just as with your interpersonal relationships, it’s non-productive to become defensive.

For some great tips on how to deal with upset customers, you should check out 10 Ways to Deal With Upset Customers Using Social Media over at Social Media Examiner.

How have you handled customer complaints?