It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we fail a customer. And in this era of online communications, it's even more important to address the situation.
It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we fail a customer. We hate it, but no company is perfect. And with all of the social media platforms at the ready, the customer can get so angry they blog about it, Tweet it and post it up on Facebook for the world to see. And not only their followers can see it, but if anyone is following your company name and someone negatively (and positively) Tweets about you, anyone can see it.
So how do you turn the negative into a positive?
How to Handle Social Media
First of all, follow your own company name. Then, if someone posts something negative to Twitter or Facebook about their experience with your company, ask them to call you, or ask them to e-mail you so you can discuss the issue. If the issue has been fixed, go ahead and apologize, then reply to them (or direct message) that you've heard their concerns and fixed the issue. Any way you can, start a dialog with them. You want to BE a part of the conversation and shape what you do with it.
How to Handle the Nasty E-mail
Many of us have been there. You've got a customer who sends the e-mail of all e-mails wrought with anger about their experience. Most of the time, they’re letting their emotions out. But what happens on the other end of that sent e-mail is that some nice person -- whose job it is to answer customer questions -- gets the e-mail and most of the time, they had nothing to do with the issue. It's time to take a deep breath, not take offense, and focus on your reaction. Picking up the phone can go a long way in building your customer relationships because most of the time your customer isn't even expecting an e-mail back, let alone a call.
Going above and beyond to get to the heart of these issues will go far in turning a negative experience for your customers into a positive one. Chances are if ONE of your customers is experiencing this issue, others are too; they're just not communicating with you.
The best thing you can do is to make sure that whenever you upgrade a service or fix an issue customers are having, be sure to tell ALL of your customers even if you think it illustrates a weakness you have. You'll make more customers happy, which is what you want in the long run.
Do you have any experience turning a negative into a positive? Love to hear it!
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick