At Creative Consulting we focus our efforts on helping clients grow their business. The activities and tactics we use are all centered on getting the word out about who you are and the service or products you provide, but no matter what we do, there is one force that will ensure all our efforts are wasted; that force is “The Bad Review”.
These days, the reach from one bad review is endless and unless you take action quickly and effectively, all our work could be for nothing. Recently, Dimensional Research, an independent market research company specializing in technology, surveyed over 1000 customer service oriented individuals to understand the impact of bad reviews on business, and what they found regarding customer service and online reviews is quite interesting.
The Customer Experience
As a member of the service industry your job is to provide every customer with a great experience. When a customer has a bad one it can have a dramatic effect on future visits to your establishment.
- 39% surveyed continue to avoid vendors two or more years after a bad experience
- Women (45%), B2B (51%), Gen X (54%) and high income households (79%) are most likely to avoid vendors two or more years after a bad customer service experience
Anyone in the customer service industry, whether you’re a server, a customer service rep, or even a cashier, should know when a customer is upset because it’s your job to address those situation immediately. The good news is that 95% of dissatisfied customers will return if you address their complaints quickly and effectively. If you can handle their unhappiness while the customer is directly in front of you, you will save yourself a lot of trouble. Once they leave your establishment, the power to affect your business multiplies exponentially.
Give the people a forum to speak, and they will us it
Dimensional research found that over the last 5 years online reviews have become very popular, in fact 58% of people are more likely to post a review now, than they did in the past. People want to be heard and thanks to social media, they now have a plethora of online sites to do so. Sites like:
- Angie’s list
- Open Table
These sites are created as a place for customers to provide written reviews about your business and they are available to everyone online; those negative reviews can be very damaging.
- 90% of consumers buying decisions are influenced by online reviews
- 86% are negatively influenced by negative reviews
When it comes to bad service, the word is out; if your company is service related you should be on top of those reviews at all times. If you want to keep your customers coming back, it is imperative you respond immediately to any negativity directed to your company. This is a daunting task and to succeed one should be monitoring these sites quite frequently, or hire a company like Crimson Fly to do it for you. Their program, “Review Rescue” can monitor review sites , respond to all negative reviews within 24 hours and provide the client with a detailed report of their review status. The response and timing are key and unfortunately, most companies just don’t have the time and resources to spend getting to those reviews, that is why a company like Crimson Fly should be a key part of all your online initiatives.
Reviews can be damaging, but when it comes to damaging a local businesses reputation, the use of social media can crush a business. Sites like:
- Google +
They have the ability to reach out to thousands. The wonderful days of one person sharing a bad experience with eight people are gone forever, that very person WILL share it with 100’s at a time. 45% of consumers use social media to talk about their experiences, and 35% will share them with others. This is why it’s vital you catch those unhappy customers BEFORE they leave.
Listen to Me
The majority of complaints would be easily solved if they were just heard.
- 69% attributed their good customer service experience to quick resolution of their problem
- 72% blamed their bad customer service interaction on having to explain their problem to multiple people
I have worked in a variety of customer service position and everyone has had its own formula on how to handle a bad situation. The key components of any good recovery strategy are:
- Listen to the customer
- Acknowledge that you hear them and empathize with the situation
- Take some form of action to resolve the situation
- Thank them for bringing the situation to their attention
- Encourage them to come back and give them another chance
These 5 steps hit all points of proper customer recovery and when executed correctly almost always work. The main point, once again, is that people just want to be heard. They want their frustrations known and if you acknowledge them, they will be happy. Sometimes you may need to urge them to come back with a discounted or free offering, but that’s a small price to pay if you want to protect yourself from getting another dreaded “bad Review”.