No matter if you have hundreds of customers or just a handful, getting to know them can be the key ingredient to repeat business and or long term customer loyalty.
Here at MaxExposure we pride ourselves on offering the highest level of customer service possible, down the the smallest detail of greeting our customers by name when they call (caller-ID, is KEY for this :)). Asking your customers about their life, major events coming up, what they did this past weekend or even remembering their order (at a restaurant) helps to make your customers feel appreciated and that you care about them for more than just their role as a patron.
So how do you work to keep your customers? In age of social media, its easy!
- Host an Event – Events are a great way to get to know your customers outside of the “buyer-seller” relationship. Whether its a wine & cheese mixer at retail store, a customer appreciation happy-hour, or a special “members-only” class at the gym, having small events allows you to meet each of your customers and spend time getting to know them!
- Connect on Social Media – Highlighting your customers and or taking pictures of them in your business is a great way to not only thank them for their business & loyalty, but also a great way to increase your social exposure. When you feature your customers on your social media, it’s very likely that they will repost and promote you to their following.
- RESPOND to YOUR REVIEWS! – Responding to your customers reviews when they are complimentary is JUST as important as when the customer has an issue. Thanking your customers publicly online, is crucial to ensuring they come back and visit your business again. The smallest gestures have the biggest impact, BUT, if you feel you don’t have time to keep up with your reviews, we’re always here to help you by monitoring and responding to them on your behalf! #shamelessplug
- Create a loyalty rewards program – we’re pretty sure it goes back to the days of potty training, but our society is highly driven by cause & effect rewards. Whether its a free wash after 10 car washes purchased, a punch card towards a free sandwich or a 25% off coupon after your 1st visit, about 64% of small businesses say their loyalty programs have been successful.
Don’t worry, while you’re taking the time to get to know your customers, we are here to help monitor your reviews and manage your social media!
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1. Identify the problem & customer’s dispositionThe customer is clearly angry in this review because they were kicked out of a restaurant that they frequent. They are also angry because they believe that they were kicked out due to racial bias. The manager and hostess were identified as the “culprits” in this review. Whether this review is 100% honest or not, you must treat it as if it is. The customer ALWAYS comes first.
2. Respond to the customer feedback ASAPTiming is EVERYTHING. The restaurant who received this review responded to the review weeks later. This makes them appear to have bad time management skills as well as being careless and not concerned with their customer service. The customer is clearly speaking in an angry tone so it is important to respond to all issues in the review with neutral wording. NEVER fight fire with fire, especially in the world of business because credibility is EVERYTHING. Example message: Good Afternoon *insert customer name.* We apologize for the way that you were treated at our restaurant on *insert date here.* We have spoken with our management and hostess staff to ensure that a situation such as this will not occur again. We are an inclusive restaurant that does its best to serve all customers with five star service. We would like to invite you back to *insert restaurant name* to give us another chance and try one of our famous dessert dishes, complimentary. Thank you for your review. Your feedback matters.
3. Determine a remedy
4. Make sure that it doesn’t happen againTo ensure that this issue does not occur again and future negative reviews can be avoided, speak to staff members about the situation. Get their insights and opinions on what happened and work with them to make sure they have proper training in regards to the conflict. It’s better to be proactive and keep the negative experience from occurring instead of having to do damage control.
This past week I discovered that one of my favorite clothing brands was not animal-friendly. As a vegan, this greatly upset me because my lifestyle is aimed at sustainability and limiting my use of animal products. In my rage, I wrote a well-worded, polite yet also snippy post on one of their social media sites. I was hoping that the company would contact me apologizing for their mistake. When I checked this social media site about an later hour, I discovered that my post had been removed by the company. This brand not only removed my feedback, but they also destroyed a possible dialogue and refused to give me A+ customer service. They lost my loyalty, my future business and my good opinion of them.
This entire scenario could have completely avoided if this brand was simply… transparent. Transparency is one of the keys to all successful businesses. Transparency creates loyalty and loyalty creates repeated business. In light of this recent scenario, here are a three easy ways that you can build your brand’s reputation in regards to transparency.
Create a medium for customers to contact you directly
By establishing a medium for customers to contact you directly, they can directly ask you any questions or concerns they may have. The last thing you want is for a customer to reach out to third party for an answer regarding your business because it creates opportunities for misunderstandings and loss of business. Sometimes customers do not want to sit on the phone with customer service, and look for other ways to communicate quickly. One of the easiest ways to establish one of these mediums is through a Facebook Messenger Chatbot or Live Chat. With a chatbot, automated responses are sent to your customer regarding any of their questions while with live chat, the customer chats one on one with a business representative.
Respond to ALL feedback
Not responding to feedback makes it look like your business doesn’t care. Deleting feedback makes it looks like your business has something to hide. Without explanation, it is clear why these are poor decisions. Through quick and polite responses to negative/positive feedback, customers feel like their opinions matter and misunderstandings are avoided. Having a o Reputation Management system is best way to retain customers and have high ranking customer loyalty.
Allow employees to voice their opinions on products publicly
An employee is the ultimate narrator to a business’ quality because they understand the inner workings of everything that occurs “behind closed doors.” By displaying employee opinions in public places, such as on your companies social media & website, customers are more apt to trust your business because the people that work there, themselves, trust it and have a high opinion of it. Doing this through employee reviews of products, employee videos and testimonials is a great way to encourage more customer trust.
Looking to improve brand loyalty, transparency and reputation all while gaining and retaining customers? Not sure how? Contact us today!
Picture this. You’re at a new restaurant that just opened up down the street. You figured you’d give it a shot and who knows, maybe it’ll be the new “go-to” for date night! So you grab a couple friends and you all end up having a great time and enjoying a delicious meal. You go home, spread out on the couch, watch some late night tv, and sleep soundly knowing you found a new favorite restaurant and had a fun night out with your friends.
Now let’s rewind a couple hours. You’ve just arrived at the new restaurant. The wait is 30 minutes long even though there’s hardly anyone there and the staff is running around frantically, hardly paying any attention to you. You finally sit down at your table, the waitress brings you some waters, and disappears for 20 minutes while you’re looking at menus. She comes back, takes your order, your food arrives 30 minutes later, cold and bland. Needless to say, you had a terrible first experience and you go home complaining about the bad service and mediocre (at best) food, and you and your friends agree you will not be going back to that place again anytime soon.
So with 100% honesty answer this question: under which of these two circumstances would you be more likely to go online and write a review for the restaurant? I don’t know about you, but I hardly ever write a good review for a business, and I can name a couple occasions in which I wrote negative reviews. This is why I have made a resolution for myself, as I encourage you to do as well, that I am going to post reviews every time I visit a business, regardless of what kind of experience I had.
Whether you are a business owner, or an employee, you are also a consumer, allowing you to take action to better businesses’ customer service on both ends of the stick. Just as it is your responsibility to respond to the negative reviews your business may receive, it is also your responsibility to give feedback to other companies, good or bad, in the hopes that they too can improve upon their customer service as well.
Receiving negative reviews online is unavoidable for any company, so being prepared and knowing how to respond to these negative reviews when you do receive them is extremely important in managing your customer relations and maintaining a good brand image. Below I have included 5 tips for responding to a negative review online:
1. Read and Reread the Review 2. Include their name in the response (if possible)
Prior to responding to a negative review, you want to make sure you get a thorough understanding of what the customer is complaining about so you do not forget to include anything in your response. For example if you own a restaurant and the customer is complaining about the terrible service and that their soup arrived cold, you should not only respond to the terrible service complaint. You want the customer to feel valued and listened to, so responding to all of their issues is extremely important in maintaining a good customer relationship.
2. Include their name in the response (if possible)
Including the customer’s name in your response to their complaint is a great way of personalizing your message to them and making them feel important. This is not always possible however, for example if a customer’s username is “Gladiator 97,” their first name is most likely not Gladiator, and therefore you should not include any name in the response.
3. Portray a positive outlook on their feedback
You do not want to sound like you are annoyed that they gave you a negative review. Although the customer may be frustrated with your company, they are helping you improve your business by giving you feedback on where you could improve. You should always thank them for writing the review, for example you may write: “Thank you so much for your feedback, we value your business with us..” or “Thank you for taking the time to inform us of your experience, we love receiving customer feedback and are constantly working to improve our customer service..”
4. Acknowledge the difference in perceptions
Negative reviews can be extremely frustrating because on most occasions, the customer is going to exaggerate the issue and make it appear worse than it was in reality. No matter how frustrating this may be, you have to remain the bigger person and express your concern rather than argue the issue with them. Remember, you are not only responding to the customer who wrote the negative review, but to every other person who may read the review and response when looking at your company’s reviews. Being the bigger person and responding as appropriately as possible to your customers’ reviews will benefit your company’s overall image in the long run.
5. Actually look into their issue
As stated before, receiving negative reviews is less of a threat, but more an opportunity to improve your customer service and relationships. If the customer is complaining of a bad experience with an employee, or quality of a product your business carries, it is your responsibility as a company owner to take the time to look into the issue and insure it is resolved and will not reoccur.