The Business of Loving Your Haters

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Many businesses cringe when they see a negative review sprawled across the internet especially when it’s about how a horrible customer’s experience. The onset of panic sets in as management scramble to figure out how to make the angry customer digitally disappear. Or maybe you’re one of those businesses that tried to report the content as inappropriate. You are among non-judgmental friends. We have all been there, some of us dealt with it with grace while others banged our heads against our desk spewing lewd four letter words.

Social Media is a blessing and a curse. Companies get to share information with customers quickly but the same holds true when customers complain it reaches the masses even quicker. So what do you do when you see a hater’s message who you failed to serve?

Recently I worked with a newly opened Mega Spa. The 30,000 sq. feet of spa haven was something out of this world. The facilities top notch, service barre none, and the cost very reasonable. Customers paid an admission which included saunas, steam rooms, yoga class, sleeping room, wifi, towels, toiletries, shower area, lounging area plus all the lotions and potions you could possibly use.

The company offered an excellent product but when asked, “How will you handle bad reviews on social media?” The management team looked at me wide eyed like I was from the 1970’s and answered back in a “Na-Duh” tone, “Well we’re never going to get a negative review if we have really good services.”

I have to respect the blind optimism but also the likelihood of zero negative reviews is the same as dinosaurs coming back to Earth living amongst humans. I hate to be the one to burst that dream but there is no such thing as perfection or pleasing every customer.

I think a lot of companies shy away from bad reviews. Even worse customers know that and will use it as emotional blackmail to get what they want. So then what exactly do you do when faced with haters. No fret here’s how we’re going to go through this.

Response Time

The moment you see a negative review respond to your angry customers right away. In the age of instant gratification customers want to be heard NOW! Too often business wait and wait. But this is the wrong strategy, by waiting you’ve given the customer more time to tell other people about their bad experience.

Public Acknowledgement

Most of the time angry customers either want to vent, get your attention, or looking to you for solutions to their problems. So you are going to publicly apologize to them for having a bad experience acknowledging that you value them for taking the time out to provide stellar feedback.

The Two Message Rule

When responding back remember “The 2 Message Rule.” Literally, only send 2 messages because if you send more than that it can signal the angry customer to publicly berate you. If the customer does end up berating you non-stop, I mean post after post after post then that is the cue to cease all communications.

Take the Hate Offline

Remember once you publicly apologize for the bad experience ask the customer for their permission to take the conversation to direct message. This shows other customers that your business is paying attention to reviews and at the same time respecting the privacy of others.

Make It Right

Finally this is your shining moment. Hear what your customer has to say and offer him/her a solution. It is very important to make the customer feel great even after they put up a nasty Mcnasty-gram. Believe it or not many times when you do right by angry customers, ironically they end up being a customer for life who will become an avid brand ambassador for free.

So go forth and show your haters some love. Be grateful for the negative reviews because it makes your business seem real. If you only had positive reviews, it makes customers feel like these were all purchased. Let’s all ask for as much negative reviews as possible because this is how we will better businesses, create customers for life and show the world how outstanding we can be.