One of the difficult things to accept about running a business is that complaints are an inevitable part of business – after all, it is impossible to please everyone all the time.
Instead of looking at complaints negatively and feeling as though the customer is going out of their way to destroy the business or attack you personally, look at is as a way to improve the business. It’s a simple change in mindset but one that can make a world of difference.
Customers who take the time to make a complaint are doing a business a favour. These customers care enough about your business that they want to communicate their concerns with you and also believe that you’re in a position to solve the problem.
Here are 7 ways customer complaints can benefit you and your business:
- Customer complaints highlight key areas where your product needs improving, your systems need updating or your service needs upgrading.
- Customer complaints can identify staff members who need more training, a refresher course, or closer supervision and helps you identify the need to introduce better business policies and procedures.
- Complaints help motivate and drive staff to improve the work and therefore improve the service culture at the business.
- The things customers complain about may present new business opportunities for increasing revenue, reducing operational costs, solving problems and increasing value.
- Customer complaints (particularly those along the lines of “company A” does it this way) can provide you with valuable competitive information and letting you know what others are doing that you are not doing (yet).
- You learn which customers are willing to speak up and that helps you better understand the business’ customers. These customers can (and should) be invited to participate in customer focus groups, surveys, panels, beta-tests, onsite visits and other research activities.
- Most upset customers simply walk away and then complain about you to their friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family members. Those who take the time to let you know are giving you another chance!
On WOMO, we’ve seen many times where negative feedback handled properly, has led to the business rectifying a major problem and winning over a customer for life.
Customers complaints are inevitable (even for the best businesses), so look at the positives and how the business can benefit from them! Check out our article on 4 Steps To Manage Customer Complaints in Heat of the Moment, but make sure that your business has simple and effective policies in places to handle customer complaints.
With more and more businesses using Facebook to promote themselves and build a strong following online, sometimes, it’s hard to find something interesting to say.
Now, that you have a decent number of “Likes”, what you want to do is engage with these users in order to grow your brand.
Below are 6 tips on how to engage with your customers on Facebook page.
- Make your page interactive by asking questions in your posts. Stick to subjects that are relevant to your audience and your business. If you’re a cafe, might do a quick post on the record number of coffees someone’s had in a day. If you’re a beauty therapist, ask customers what their one must-have beauty product.
- Personal connections are powerful. Personalise status updates using “real ” humans… use names and other personalisation often. You might want to mention a long time customer of the business or even a new customer of yours!
- If you have reviews on WOMO or other sites, post them on your Facebook page for your other customers to see. Show how much you appreciate all the support you’re getting from customers online.
- Include other media – this might be a funny youtube clip to brighten up everyone’s Monday (Keep in mind, not everything you post needs to be about you or your business), or a picture of your staff having a bit of fun at work; or a picture of a customer’s with their new hairdo or product they’ve purchased.
- If you have any new services or products available, or a new menu, post it on Facebook and make a big deal about it! Give customers a reason to see you again.
- Everyone loves to read a great quote. We have a few customer service quotes that you can choose from here!
Facebook and other social media sites are a great tool for businesses to engage with customers and attract new customers. With Facebook, it’s recommended that businesses try posting at least 2 times a week so you stay “top-of-mind” and relevant to the people who like your page.
When it comes to social media and interacting with customers online, try not to over think the process, keep it simple and make it fun!
We all know customer reviews are a great way for businesses to build a good reputation for themselves online and attract new customers.
Many businesses ask us, “How do I get my customers to review me?”, and our simple answer is: “Just ask them..!”. To make this easier, we have a marketing program called the Happy Customers Program, which provides businesses with Review flyers to hand out to their customers and other online tools to help them build a strong bank of customer reviews.
The tools available on the Happy Customers Program has helped thousands of businesses build their customer reviews, but below are three unique, fun and proven ways to build a strong bank of reviews.
Use an iPad or laptop
If customers are with you and you have a good rapport with them, this can be a great strategy. For example, a hairdresser handed her regular clients an iPad and asked them to review the salon while they were getting their hair coloured or waiting to be served. We find that most customers are happy to leave feedback for a business they love, it’s just about finding the time to do so. This hairdresser went on to collect nearly 100 reviews over 2 years using this method!
But it doesn’t just work for hairdressers. We also spoke to an accountant who asked his client at the end of every meeting if they would leave him a review, and then turned his laptop around for them to do it then and there! He found that his clients were happy with him, but just couldn’t find the time to leave him a review when they got home so rather than wait and hope, he took the process into his own hands. So have an iPad or laptop in the store, salon or workshop – it’s a great way to collect feedback from customers then and there.
Enter customers names into a draw to win a prize
Entering customers name into a draw has worked wonders for many business focused on building a bank of customer reviews. We previously spoke to an accounting firm (a different from the example above) who made getting customer feedback a top priority and made it fun by telling their clients that if they left them a review (positive, negative or neutral), they’ll go into a draw to win a TV! We don’t expect many businesses to offer that kind of prize. Instead, we had a tradie use a similar strategy, but the prize was two movie tickets! The prize didn’t cost him much and he found that it gave many customers a bit a of nudge to leave him a review on WOMO. Make collecting feedback interesting not only for the business but also for the customers!
Get your staff on board and give them the recognition they deserve
Make sure all of your staff know how important reviews are to your business. A photo printing business found that after asking customers to review them, they had such a huge response that they printed out the best reviews and posted it around the office and shop front for staff and customers to see! Another cleaning service business started handing out Award Certificates to staff who had the most mentions in the reviews. The manager said that these awards had no cash or bonus element to it, but found that it was just a great way for staff to be proud of the work they are doing and also for their team to understand standard that the business rewards great customer service. When you recognise staff for doing a great job, they’ll feel like they’re actually part of the business and its values.
Building a strong bank of customer reviews is not as easy as sitting back and hoping that one of your loyal, regular customers will give a shout out the next time they’re with their friends. Unfortunately some business owners still feel a bit uncomfortable or apprehensive about asking customers to review them or to give them feedback. However, if you ask your customers and use just one of the proven tips above, you’ll be able to build a strong bank of customer reviews in no time, which will benefit your business well into the future.
For more information about the importance of customer reviews, read our article on 10 Reasons to Encourage Customer Reviews
In business, we deal with different types of customers every single day. Some customers we love, others we sigh with relief when we see them walking out the door. Everyone who has ever had a job knows there are certain types of customers who are incredibly difficult to deal with. Even the friendliest customer or the chattiest customer can be bad for business. Below are 5 types of customers businesses hate dealing with.
The Indecisive Customer
Meet the Indecisive Customer. They show interest in your product or service, but are not always as motivated to buy as they seem. They might have some concerns that have yet to be addressed or find that there’s too many choices and they have no idea where to begin. For this customer, they’re more comfortable avoiding decisions and are more cautious and move slower than other customers. In most cases, it’s hard for them to trust that your product or service will solve their problem. Your aim is to make the buying process easier for them. This customer needs to be led to a decision.
The Indecisive Customer needs tons of handholding, and they can consume plenty of your time if you let them. You will have to be the leader in this relationship, but if you can earn their trust, they can be very valuable. When handling an Indecisive Customer, talk them through their pattern of indecision and find out if there were similar decisions they made in the past that they now regret. Be compassionate and remind them what the lack of making a decision can cost them. Demonstrate your trustworthiness with credentials, examples of past work, or customer reviews.
The Tyre Kicker A.K.A The Time Waster
Don’t confuse the Tyre Kicker or the Time Waster with an Indecisive Customer. The Type Kickers are customers, who don’t say yes, or no, to your offer, but rather delay or drag on the sales process and waste valuable time. These customers ask a lot of questions about products or services, but then continue with some story or tangent. The difficulty is that many of these “customers” seem to be seriously interested in buying and most of the time you don’t realise they are just time-wasters until it’s too late.
Time is money and time spent with these individuals is like throwing money away. When deciding on whether they are a Tyre Kicker or an Indecisive Customer, be ready with solid probing questions that help you qualify if they’re going to be an actual buyer. This will help weed out the time-waster before you spend hours on follow-up and research.
Good probing questions, especially early in the sales process, can help uncover a Tyre Kicker. If they ask for the same information repeatedly, they may be a Tyre Kicker and you need to probe and find out the true story.
The Distracted Customer
This customer has a wandering mind, roving eyes and their smartphone in hand just waiting for the next Facebook or Twitter notification. The Distracted Customer has a lot of their mind and while they might be interested in a product or service, they have no real urgency to buy. When dealing with a Distracted Customer, it’s your job to get their attention. To grab such customers, speak to them about the various positive features of the products or service, so that they develop a sense of interest and urgency (remember, you’re competing for their attention with all kinds of interesting cat pictures!).
Your priority is to grab the Distracted Customer’s attention and engage them. Strike up a conversation with them, but make sure that you listen to what they actually want. If you can quickly grasp their needs, queries, aspirations and any concerns about what you offer, you can successfully service them – despite having only part of their attention. Your aim is to get them to focus on what you guys do. But don’t waste too much time on small talk because you need to close this one quickly before they’re distracted again.
We all know this guy. You meet them for the first time and immediately you know that they’ve done hours of research. This customer thinks they know what the problem is and what needs to be done to fix it. The Know-It-All has done research on you and your competitors, and spouts about all your strengths and weaknesses. The first 10 minutes of the conversation is basically the customer grilling you on specific points and asking you technical questions that might not even be relevant.
With blogs, customer forums and review sites, there has never been more information and knowledge out there for customers. The best (and really only way) to deal with a Know-It-All customer, is to be prepared. Rather than spending time answering questions, ask questions. The big problem with the Know-It-All customer is that they’re not very receptive to what you might have to say. In fact, often what they’re looking for is your respect – so give it to them! Compliment them on their knowledge and research. Tell them not many customers know as much as they do. And then use this rapport and ego to introduce new ideas to them and convince them about your product or service. Get ideas to go off in their head by asking questions that make them think about some of the other benefits of using your business. Your aim is to get them to believe they’re a really smart shopper and have made a wise decision by choosing your business.
This type of customer needs your help but for some reason, they’ve already decided that you probably can’t help them anyway. They’re pessimistic and impatient, but regardless, they have a problem and need someone to help them. Dealing with a Grumpy Cat can be hard because they might come with small dose of attitude and are therefore not very receptive to suggestions. When handling a Grump, the first thing to remember it to stay calm and listen. Listen to their concerns but also ask questions so that the they know that you are listening and are genuinely focused on solving their problem.
With a Grumpy Cat, make the decision process easy for them, by highlighting the benefits or the product or service. At the same time, give them plenty of time and space to express themselves, to say what they need to say. Don’t make them feel pressured into doing something – you’ll just upset them more!
Regardless of what type of customer you are dealing with, it’s important to note that even if they don’t end up buying, like the Tyre Kicker or the Grumpy Cat, you still need to provide them with a positive experience. If they walk out of the shop with their money in the pockets, the only thing they’ll leave with is the memory of their experience with you. Make sure they leave with a good impression of the business. If they don’t end up using you now, they might in the future.
Are there any other types of customers you find difficult to deal with?
This is part of a 3-part series where we dispel three common misconceptions that businesses have about reviews on WOMO.
Myth 3: It just takes one negative review to ruin my business
We bust the final myth that many businesses have about reviews on WOMO. The third most common misconception about online reviews is that it takes just one unhappy customer ruin the reputation of a business by writing a negative review.
If your business has received negative feedback online, try not to panic too much. Feeling shocked and being upset after reading something negative about your business is understandable. From our experience, even the best businesses can make a mistake or will have unhappy customers. If it’s just one customer’s opinion, you really have nothing to worry about. If you have 1 negative review out of 10 positive reviews, potential customers can see that the negative review is a once-off. (It’s when you start seeing 4-5 negative reviews out of 10 positive reviews that there would be cause for concern!)
So what if you only have one review and it’s negative? Don’t sit back and let that one review speak about your business. Instead, take control and proactively reach out to your happy customers and ask them to review you! Focus on building positive feedback about your business. This will help minimise the negative review. If one negative review is surrounded by 10 or 15 positive reviews, then that review doesn’t have much weight. (If you’re serious about building your reputation online, please take a moment to check out WOMO’s Happy Customers Program)
Business needs to be proactive when it comes to their online reputation. When you have a strong and positive presence online, it can protect your business in the rare occasion a customer is not happy with your service.
Fact: Customers understand that mistakes can happen and businesses can’t guarantee that every single person will be happy. So long as the business has an overall positive reputation online, one unhappy customer is not enough to ruin a business’ online reputation.
This is part 2 of a 3-part series where we will be dispelling three common misconceptions that businesses have about reviews on WOMO.
Myth 2: Once the review is written, there’s nothing I can do
Following our previous article where we busted the myth that anyone can write a review for a business on WOMO.com.au, the second common misconception that many businesses have is that once a review is written about their business, there’s nothing they can do about it.
Again, this is not the case! For starters, all reviews on WOMO need to comply with our Fair Play Policy (which you can see here). So if there’s anything written in the review that you know is factually incorrect (i.e the pricing), or if you believe that the review is not from a paying customer, you can flag the review as being Suspect or Inappropriate and we will temporarily suspend the review and contact the customer to confirm the details in their review (in some cases we will require proof of purchase).
In situations where businesses receive an unfavourable review from a paying customer and their review complies with our Fair Play Policy (keep in mind that less that 7% of reviews on WOMO are negative), businesses can comment publicly on the review or send a private message to the reviewer (so long as the review was not submitted Anonymously). To do this, all you need to do is Claim Your Listing by clicking on the “Is this your business” link.
Reviews are not a one-way communication! Commenting on the review publicly is a fantastic way to explain your side of the story. It also gives you the opportunity to show potential customers who have stumbled across this review that you’re a business who is not only aware of customer feedback online but you’re also very concerned about providing good customer service.
Click here for more tips on how to respond to negative reviews and what not to write publicly!