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Online Reviews and Comments
A while back I wrote an article about how customer online reviews and comments can actually enhance and grow your business….and that you don’t need to be afraid about what people post on your various business social media pages. In that article I described a process with which you can work through any kind of review or comment, and you will end up looking like a hero! This turned into a VERY POPULAR article!
This week a colleague (I’ll call her Tonya…) told me about another friend’s case where a comment was made on a Facebook page that was negative concerning this friend’s business. The friend (I’ll call him Rob…) didn’t find out about it until several days after the comment was posted (he found out via a different friend, who mentioned it to him….). It wasn’t on Rob’s business page, but just someplace else on Facebook that this other person happened to stumble upon, and so mentioned it to Rob in passing.
Rob nearly flipped! He went onto this other page, read the comment, and started to agonize about whether to do anything about it….I mean, this was a surprise! Upon further inspection, Rob noted that others on the page had begun to respond to the comment in positive ways, and, in fact, the incident had pretty much resolved itself in a good way. Rob still didn’t know whether he should hop on the thread and say something, just to show that he cared, but was also afraid that it much churn up the discontent afresh. Tonya thought I might be able to help Rob “climb down off the ledge”, so to speak, and then I could help him understand what he should do.
My recommendation was pretty simple: it’s resolved, so you don’t need to do anything. Your community of fans took care of it for you, which is really the best of all possible worlds! What better recommendation for your business than to have others (not you or someone representing your business…) come to your defense and resolve the issue. A terrific body of credible customers…
Nonetheless, Rob was concerned that others across Facebook and other places on the Internet might be posting negative comments. What can he do about that? I told him that it is extremely difficult to manage business reputation across the entire Internet without hiring someone for that role, which could turn into a HUGE expense with minuscule ROI. Rob’s only real responsibilities were to take care of feedback and comments on his digital assets (in this case Facebook and his web site). Certainly the expectations of his customers and others who post there are that he will respond in a timely fashion.
If he was to stumble across a comment by accident or by design (for example, signing up for Google Alerts
would alert him of comments and mentions…) he could consider
entering into dialogue with the person as, first of all, another person (that is, not necessarily representing the brand). As the dialogue progresses, it may make sense to mention your relationship with the company, especially if you can further improve the customer experience by having them contact you directly, say by phone. I told Rob that should not necessarily be how he manages every single mention, as he could easily fill his days doing this and never actually get any business accomplished! But, if the opportunity seems to require it, it is a great way to resolve the issue. I also mentioned that, once the problem is resolved, he could gently ask the customer to go up to the original thread online and post that it was resolved. That way there is closure to the issue off-line AND online, allowing others to see just how responsive he is.
Rob felt better with this guidance, especially knowing that he wasn’t expected to watch the whole of Facebook for comments or mentions. Having a road map for resolving issues and enhancing customer experience allowed him to breathe easy and move on with his business. Knowing when to do something gives him peace of mind.