Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Nicole Beachum – Enjoy!
Regardless of whether you are a small business owner or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, without customers, you no longer have a business. Therefore, when it comes to any business, the customer experience is essential.
This fact is why many business owners have emphasized (or attempted to emphasize) the importance of the customer always being right. Starbucks, for example, has a reputation for providing an exceptional customer experience. If they have a lapse in customer satisfaction, though, one disgruntled customer is not going to ruin their business.
The same cannot be said for a small business.
When it comes to small businesses, the customer experience can ultimately make or break your business’s chances to succeed. Therefore, it is essential for you to understand where your customers turn when they are disgruntled and how to best navigate the waters of responding to customer complaints in a manner that helps to increase your business’s chances of success.
The Power of Social Media
When a customer has a pleasant or not-so-pleasant experience, the first place to which they will often take their praises or complaints is online. More specifically, most people will voice their pleasure or dissatisfaction on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
As a result, it is imperative that you have someone who is responsible for your online reputation management who monitors social media platforms and other online outlets for customer feedback. This reputation management can either be someone trained in digital media within your office or can be an external contractor; however, monitoring your reputation online is absolutely crucial.
When someone praises your company on a social media platform, it is important for you to respond to them and thank them for their feedback. Even more importantly, when someone voices a complaint about your services, your response is critical. Within hours, your response to your disgruntled customer can go viral—even obtaining national attention (something you definitely don’t want).
Therefore, a prompt, professional, and concerned response to online customer complaints can make all of the difference in the world in helping propel your small business into the future.
Negative Response Leads to Decline in Business Reputation
There is a very good example that shows the importance of online reputation management and how the customer experience is truly vital in having a positive online presence.
According to a post that went viral on Facebook, a little girl’s father was in Afghanistan and ordered a bouquet that came with a necklace for his daughter to be delivered on Valentine’s Day. When the flowers were delivered, a necklace was not included. The mother of the daughter supposedly called the company and complained, but the company failed to take responsibility for the situation and offer to make it up to the lady, her husband, and her daughter. (It is essential to note that this is the woman’s version of the story and the flower shop disagreed with the specifics).
The woman, outraged, posted about the company on Facebook and the post spread quickly. The florist responded on their own Facebook page by posting the woman’s order on their timeline. By the end of that day, the florist had numerous negative reviews online and people from across the country knew about this story—all because of social media.
It has been several months since February 14, 2013 and the company is still being plagued by this one negative customer review and their response to the customer on Facebook.
Regardless of who was right in this situation—the woman, the florist, or some combination of both—it is clear that this unfavorable customer experience was not handled property by the florist. As a result, its entire online reputation (and probably much of its local reputation) has been affected.
This story, in a nutshell, is why customer experience is essential in today’s digital world. If your customers are happy, they are likely to share that story online with the potential of increasing your customer base. On the other hand, if they are unsatisfied – and this will happen, sooner or later – it can (and often does) affect your bottom line.
Nicole Beachum has been helping small to medium businesses transform their online presence through high-quality, original website content, blogs, social media postings, online reputation management, digital public relations, digital media, sales letters, and other digital reach methods since 2008. Firmly believing that every business needs to combine their strategic outreach plan to an audience-tailored digital reach strategy, Nicole strives to help businesses increase their bottom line through customer retention and new customer acquisition. uptickmarketing.com