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5 ways to turn on-line comments into raving fan mail

Dissatisfied customers? You really can’t please everyone, every time. Ignore their social media complaints however at your own risk. You have the power to shape the future of your company by the way you respond to online comments. Keep customers loyal by knowing what to say — and what not — when they complain in person, via email, or on a public site. Here are 5 tips: 

Be human. If you’re upset or worried by the comment, tell them. You might begin with a sincere thank you and then say (in your own words!) something like: I am so upset about this situation because I thought this had been taken care of while you were visiting us. Or: I am worried that this is happening and am grateful for your comments…

Don’t say “I understand.” You don’t. You don’t know how they feel; you can only know how you feel. Authentic empathy is saying: I can’t even imagine how upset you must be. That is your truth. You can’t imagine it. When my dad died, and people with two parents said to me, I understand how you feel, I wanted to scratch their eyes out. And even people who had also lost a parent don’t know exactly what another person is going through. Authentic empathy helps the other person; I can’t imagine how you feel is empathetic; I understand how you feel is not.

Keep talking. You responded to the on-line comment in a timely manner and you spoke your truth. But don’t stop now. Stay in touch. Keep the updates coming. Maybe you want to tell them, We’re still working on a solution for you. I just didn’t want you to think we forgot you or what you said wasn’t important to us.

Take it off-line. There are times when the conversation should be taken off-line. Ask them respectfully to do so. You might say: We’d like to offer you a solution and would appreciate it if you would contact us directly to do so.

Go out of your way for good words. When they say good stuff, don’t ignore them. Show appreciation. When I blogged about the wonderful housekeeping staff, especially Luisa, at the JWMarriott Cancun, the hotel PR person emailed me to thank me, and to tell me what nice things they had done for the housekeeper. Then, Luisa, the housekeeper, responded to my blog post in her native tongue. The same thing happened when I posted positive comments about TSA. They even asked permission to reprint my comments in their training newsletter. So here I am talking about them again. When people are happy, make them heros! 

Your ideas to keep the story positive? I’d love to hear them.

Want more? I’m happy to help your team craft an on-line communications strategy that will delight your customers and invite them to become raving fans.  Contact me:

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