When I speak to retailers about social media, it’s almost inevitable that they will ask me about how we deal with negative comments posted on our retailers’ social media profiles. In some cases, the possibility of negative feedback is such a major concern for a retailer that they don’t even want to bother with social media because of it. However, as I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, negative feedback on your business’ social media page is an opportunity to change the story with an unhappy customer.
Mike Blumenthal of Get Five Stars, a company offering a platform to automate the customer feedback process, wrote a blog post about why an unhappy customer can actually be good for your business. Four out of the five points he made in that post can be directly applied to negative feedback on social media.
Most unhappy customers don’t complain, they just don’t come back. Ever.
Even in the digital age, most customers aren’t going to take the time to go to your social media profiles and write out a complaint. Many of them will simply stop shopping at your store and possibly post about it on their own personal profile or complain to their friends and family in person. If their social media profile is private, there isn’t anything you can do about the complaint at that point because you will never see it. This is one important idea that I reiterate again and again with retailers: if a customer is going to complain about your store on social media, they will do it whether you have a business page or not. When they go to your social media page with the complaint, at least you have an opportunity to resolve the issue.
A complaint is a buying signal.
Blumenthal points out that when a customer actually does complain to a business, it can be a buying signal because the customer might want to continue to do business with you but doesn’t feel like they can after a negative experience. He refers to the complaint as a “call for help” so that they can “maintain their relationship with you.” The ability to do this quickly and easily on a social media page makes the process of mending the relationship even easier for both the customer and the retailer.
A complaint, if successfully resolved, will retain the customer 70% of the time.
I covered this idea in my blog posts about changing the story. Successfully resolving the customer complaint will not only solve their problem but might also gain you a more dedicated customer. According to Blumenthal, acquiring a new customer is up to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one and most of your sales come from existing customers and not new ones. Social media is already a relatively inexpensive form of online marketing so this will make an already compelling ROI even less expensive if it’s done through social media.
A successfully resolved complaint on an open forum like social media also sends a message to any other customers looking at your page. They see that you care enough to not only fix the problem for a specific customer but that you will work to make the shopping experience even better for all of your customers.
A complaint is a way to learn what needs to be improved
The most important thing to remember about a customer complaint is that it’s a way to improve your business. If a customer points out something that is wrong with a product or service, you have the opportunity to fix that problem for them and for future customers. It doesn’t matter if you receive a customer complaint in person, over the phone or on social media — you should treat it as a chance to build a better business.