We are all busy right? Running around like crazy people some days, trying to keep our businesses viable and thinking about the next logical step for growth and customer satisfaction. Too many times though we forget one of the first things we learned in life, saying “please and thank you”.
Although this may seem obvious, think about how many times you have left comments for businesses on Social Media and never received a response. Or how about a time that you took the time to give feedback on a site like yelp and no one bothered to respond to issues or say thanks for a positive review. This is not good, not good at all, actually it is just plain rude. Don’t you hate it when you let someone in on the freeway during a traffic jam and they don’t wave? Happens a lot here in San Diego J. Well this is the online equivalent of that. This person has taken 10-15 minutes out of their day to give feedback or ask about your business, yes YOUR business, and never got anything back. Whether the comment was positive or negative, who cares? In today’s online world people expect information back and in a timely manner. Having a system in place gets you up to speed and being good at it puts you ahead of the curve. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, some comments and reviews written are just plain hurtful or irrelevant, and I certainly would not advocate spinning your wheels there.
Social listening is a big buzz word these days and this thought of customer service certainly falls within the realm of this idea. Listening to what customers are saying on social channels and reviews sites is going to give you a picture of the state of your business, from the customer perspective. Using just one site or channel to accomplish this is a waste of time though. You should measure across many many channels because you do not have the luxury of picking where your customers talk about you online. In my experience, some channels have a tendency to be more negative than others, so a broad picture will give you a good idea of where you stand.
All too often I see businesses respond to negative reviews, trying to defend their side of the story. Truth alert, no one cares, and they are likely going to side with the consumer that wrote the review. You should keep the public view as positive and responsive as you possibly can and getting into a back and forth does not bode well for public perception of your business. Who wants to go spend money somewhere that the owner or manager are argumentative? Hint: No one does. Of course the customer is not always right, but the reality is only the two of you know the whole story, so no need to go back and forth about a resolution. Matter of fact, there may be no resolution, so just put it to bed.
The focus should be on the customers who have issues that can be resolved or customers that have just left all and all positive reviews. We get so focused on “protecting” our businesses from the negativity that we forget to take care of the ones who are taking care of us, which is ultimately the most important. Think about it from the other side of the table and the ability to endear a customer, just by responding and saying “thanks”. I am not talking about auto-responses or marketing e-mails either, those are a dime a dozen. People receive those from President Obama all the way to their local vet and it is always very impersonal and probably just gets deleted. I mean an actual response directly addressing things they spoke about in the review or social media post. This is powerful stuff and something that SMB’s need to be harnessing to distinguish themselves from the pack. Remember to think about one of the things you first learned in life, saying “please and thank you”. After all, it is the small things that really count.