Are People Talking About You? It's not Paranoia, It's Good Business.

People, companies and Brands are all living their lives online and there are times when we have very little control over our online presence and reputation. However, there are many things you can and should do to ensure you are putting your best foot forward, and most of it boils down to providing excellent online customer service.
In business, you want to do everything possible to earn your customers trust and favor, however, in this digital age, all of your efforts can be undone in an instant.
We have posted previous blogs about the Importance of Great Customer Service. J.D. Power and Associates confirms that this is just as evident on the web, with 67% of consumers stating they have used a company’s social media channel for customer service and when they do, they expect a fast response. 42% of consumers expect a response with 60 minutes.
So, how do you handle bad online reviews or negative comments to your digital marketing efforts? There are tons of blogs on the subject and after scouring through them, we have narrowed it down to what we feel are the two most important tips:
1. Respond Quickly! Time is of the essence and responding within 1 hour is a great place to start, 30 minutes is even better but you don’t need to be able to solve the problem within that hour – that is not what this is about. It is about acknowledging the issue and letting the customer know you are looking into it. Provide a realistic time frame of when you will be back in touch to manage expectations and to keep the situation from escalating. Keep in mind, being responsive is a 24/7 job and it is critical that your level of service remains consistent even at night and on weekends.
In fact, according to a study from Convince & Convert, a prompt response is expected:  “Our research found that among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.” Consumers expect around-the-clock support and you will need to plan and staff accordingly.
So the first step is responding immediately, which leads us to the next tip…
2. Be human. Join the conversation! Address any issues while maintaining a professional and polite tone. Call the person by name, let the person you are chatting with know your name. Social Media Examiner has some excellent examples for how to handle customer complaints. When customers reach out to you with a negative social comment, they’re typically looking for you to acknowledge and help resolve their problem. If you respond with an automated reply, you’re sending a message that you haven’t taken time to understand the issue and don’t value the customer’s input.
Their tips for reassuring your customers:
• Reply using a conversational tone.
• Include the customer‘s name in the response.
• Let the customer know how you will fix the issue.
• If it’s a mistake, take ownership.
• Acknowledge the customer‘s situation in your response.
Use humor when appropriate and have some fun with it! The more personal the response the better. Be sure your customer service team is empowered to have a little leeway in their responses and are trained to be empathetic and helpful.
While these are not the only tips to consider, they are an excellent place to start. Excellent customer service leads to positive opinions from your consumers and consumers often rely on the opinions of others when making purchase decisions. According to Zendesk, 88% have been influenced by an online customer service review when deciding what to buy.
Manning Media’s Online Reputation Management service is a great tool for monitoring your online presence! For more information on this or any of our services, please call one of our two local offices and a helpful customer service representative will be happy to help you.  In Frederick Call 301-620-7700 or in Hagerstown Call 301-733-4500. You can also fill out our online request form by clicking HERE!

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