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The proactive approach to negative online reviews

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ReachLocal Blog

Customer experience and feedback can have a significant impact on business. With the popularity of Twitter and review websites like Yelp, customers now have tools that could potentially jeopardize business results with negative feedback.

It is critical that businesses invest time and resources to ensure service and customer experience weighs more heavily on the positive end of the spectrum. While some companies have dedicated resources to monitor every tweet and review that mentions their business online, a more proactive approach can be used to prevent negative feedback.

The proactive approach leads us down a road to old practices in good customer service. Instead of taking the reactionary approach in addressing the negative customer experiences, it would be advantageous to spend some time with staff to educate them on good customer service practices for your business industry. The following steps are a good starting point to improving customer service with your team and, ultimately, your business.

  1. Good customer service starts from within the business - on the team and with leadership. If your employees are supported and happy, they are more inclined to echo that support and pleasant behavior with the customer. It is easier to identify problem staff if there is only one employee that is showing less appropriate behavior than entire disgruntled team echoing their frustrations with the customer. Begin by addressing the core team issues by listening to and finding solutions. Lastly, check your own attitude and tone with your team. Make sure you are exhibiting the behavior you expect from your team.
  2. Develop a customer service plan. Set clear expectations and standards for interactions with customers. Good customer service should be a balance of the employee’s personality and adherence to the basic customer standards that are set by leadership. With even the most controlled environment, things such as the employee’s tone of voice and underlying personality can leave an impression with a customer. Role playing with staff is a good way to show, practice and observe this skill.
  3. Once your team is on-board with the new customer service plan, you should monitor and test effectiveness with your customer. This phase involves an additional level of interaction from you or other team members in a leadership role that will check and measure customer experience. This is also done by customer satisfaction surveys or in some cases, secret shoppers.

These practical steps can help move your team to a more customer focused style of providing service. Support your team by listening to them in efforts to correct issues that they are unable to address but may still cause grief with the customer.

Times are changing, so don’t rule out monitoring online feedback. However, use practical methods in providing customer service to potentially off-set the amount of negative feedback.

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