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04/29/2016

Exceeding Consumer Expectations in the Social Media Age

 

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In the age of user reviews, accessed with a few keystrokes and even fewer minutes, good customer service is more important to business success than ever. There’s a valid argument that social media gives consumers an unfair upper hand, that it’s too easy for one difficult, disgruntled customer to trash a reputation online. But it cuts both ways: if you can create a positive experience for enough customers, some of them will go as far as singing your praises on Yelp, TripAdvisor - or whatever the relevant review sites in your industry are.

 

So instead of trying to suppress bad reviews - a big ask that could easily backfire - concentrate on exceeding expectations with a view to overwhelming those negative nancies by dint of a lovebomb campaign from happy customers. If you streamline your customer experience and make it a satisfying one, a positive online presence will start to create itself…

 

Stay in Touch

Following up with customers immediately after a sale will help you respond quickly and proactively to any problem areas. Email or text them (with consent, of course) to ask them to rate the experience. A simple five star rating method will take a second for them to click, and make additional comments and suggestions an optional extra. Another proactive way of collecting feedback for retailers is to simply communicate with customers at the register. Put together a focus group, issue SMS surveys - anything to harvest more information on how your business is perceived. When it comes to the customer experience, no amount of data is too much.

 

Provide an Easy Complaints Process

Most complaints can be dealt with to the satisfaction of the customer if the process for submitting and handling complaints is simple. The last thing you want to do when someone has an issue is further frustrate them with a hard-to-find, slow-to-respond complaints process. Create an official complaint form and link to it clearly from your homepage. The more quickly you can resolve a complaint, the less likely the complainant is to criticize you on social media.

 

Respond to Negative Feedback

If you have been treated unfairly on a review site, join the conversation. Gently offer to resolve the issue, and avoid becoming emotional about it, even if the person in question is a tricky customer. Even the most committed armchair critic can be lovebombed into submission, so budget for the provision of freebies and other incentives - or rather, disincentives to complain.

 

Tracking Tools

Tracking tools like Hootsuite and Google Alerts are a great way of monitoring what’s being said about your company.

 

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