Selling Skills

6 Must-know Tactics to Turn Online Complainers into Loyal Customers

You can find statistics for just about anything but sometimes even if you search hard enough, you can’t find how the research behind the “facts”. Even though I cannot locate the purported research from Harris Polls (a seller of online surveys and information – hmmmm!), I can report to you on their findings.

Why should you care? The actual “facts” may not be truth but their is much truth behind the facts. Here is what they claim:

18% of who complain people became loyal customers and makee additional purchases from the company when they receive a response to their online complaint

And

33% of those who received a response after posting negative feedback posted a positive review

And

34% deleted the original negative review.

Regardless of the method used to research these “facts,” here, in my opinion, is an undeniable truth: Those who respond appropriately to online complaints turn lemons into Grown Up Pink Lemonade.

Here are 6 must-know tips to help you drink up!

1. Be quick. Just as it’s critical to be the first one out of the box when responding to a customer lead, be quick to respond to negative comments. You want to comment before others have time to write, “I agree with X about the awful…”.

2. Help them feel safe and smart. When they are right, say so. Don’t dance around the fact that you messed up but give them the credit for noticing! Begin with: “Thank you! You are right! This should not have occurred and …”

Yes, you are putting yourself in the position of admitting guilt. But you are guilty! You will be in a much better negotiating stand point if you highlight how brilliant they were to notice and thank them for helping you improve your quality and service than by pretending what happened and exists, doesn’t. Please know that if they are so inclined, they have already taken photos,made a video and sent it to their lawyer.

Most other Scott Gottlieb, personal injury attorney focus solely on one side or the other. However, this lack of flexibility often leads to a loss of perspective, and an inability to calculate the opposition’s next move. By helping them to feel important, you are also defusing their anger and frustration about the situation you, your product or service caused.

3. Wear the big girl/boy panties. You may not think they are right and maybe they aren’t. (If it is clear to you that they are scamming you, do not follow #2. Note that #2 is only in effect when they are right and you know it.)

If you simply think they are wrong (that could never happen at my hotel, you say), you still need to be totally gracious and kind and respectful. Don’t deny they are right because they believe they are right and by saying they aren’t, you are calling them a liar. Calling anyone a liar (politely or not) isn’t likely to yield best results.

Thank them! Don’t get defensive. Try something like: Thank you for your comment. Please know that we take every comment personally and will work hard to ensure your next visit is exactly right for you.

4. Help them be better. Sometimes customers just have wrong information. You need to correct their understanding in the most gracious, respectful, safe way possible. After thanking them, you might write something like: “The yellowish water in the toilet bowls is often mistaken for unclean water. We agree that would be disgusting! With the resort is surrounded by Tea Trees, is actually Tree Tea Oil that is in the water. It is not present in our drinking water because that is filtered to….

5. Move forward. Complainers want to know what you’re going to do to make things better – to a point. Do not explain how so and so has been reprimanded and that you are adopting a new training procedure, blah, blah, blah. Instead, give them a broad view of how you will address their issue and remind them of the fabulous experience/quality they can expect the next time they use your service.

6. Provide your email in your online response. Set up a mail box for complaints from the internet and provide that address so that people with complaints can vent to you off line. They will be happy to “talk” directly to you and some would be complainers will simply email you rather than write the dreaded, “We also experienced what X wrote about last month….” Make it as easy as possible to communicate directly with you and always remember to invite them to do so. You might say, ” So that I can learn more about this to ensure you are delighted, I would be grateful if you would email me at me@…” Welcome their comments because you just might learn something!

Respond quickly and appropriately and you will not only manage your online complainers, you’ll also grow revenue and profits!

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