Nothing says more about a company than how they respond to customer complaints. As hard as we might try to be perfect in our business, there will always be something that someone either doesn’t like or appreciate about what we do. As we all know, most people will never complain directly to you, however they will talk to everyone they know behind our corporate backs, and that is far more damaging than expressing their concerns directly in the first place.
The thing is, that business owners often don’t want to hear complaints, they don’t encourage customer interaction and often won’t acknowledge there is even an issue. Educated consumers and social media have been changing all that! Now the “talk to their friends behind your corporate back” means involving the masses through “internet interaction”. There have been tons of high-profile cases where social unrest bred through internet or twitter posts have led to serious issues for large corporations. Kevin Smith vs, Southwest Airlines , Lulu Lemon’s “exposure” grew tremendously due to the web. Maritz Research recently studied Twitter complaints and found that almost 70% went unresponded to by the company being tweeted about! That is simply unacceptable in today’s business world
Conversely, the study found that 83% of the complainants that received a reply liked or loved the fact that the company responded.Liked or loved, those are some pretty strong words! I’ll bet that those companies who responded did it with RAGE. RAGE is my acronym for Recognize, Acknowledge, Gauge and Evaluate.
To be able to recognize that there is an issue, you need to invite conversation through social media, so that consumers can hopefully talk to you first. If they like the response, chances are they will not only like it, but respond socially in a more positive light about you.
When you acknowledge, you do it with empathy and understanding. Put yourself in the consumer’s boots and respond in a way that shows real concern and a desire to rectify the situation.
Continue to gauge social media to determine if there is more to the issue than a few scattered complaints, as well as seeing if your goodwill is gaining you points by those who you have responded to. Is your name popping up elsewhere or are you trending?
Finally, evaluate what happened, how quickly you responded, the importance of your actions, the outcome and if there is anything else that is warranted to be done. Try to measure the increase in goodwill that occurs after the initial interaction.
Utilizing RAGE to your benefit will help you turn dissatisfaction into trust, respect and business growth. Turn those with complaints into your company’s evangelists and turn the social media tide in your favour.