How to Turn Your Harshest Critics Into Your Ambassadors

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In the age of social media it’s easy for anyone to post a scathing critique or a shining review of any company they interact with daily. Whether it’s a Yelp review, a tweet, or a Facebook post, clients can easily share their opinions on your business.

But what do you do when angry clients post negative reviews? A new system of online customer service must be adopted to turn harsh critics into satisfied customers. By using the right strategy you can turn even the angriest customers into your brand ambassadors.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when your company gets bad reviews.

Respond Quickly and Courteously

When negative reviews or comments surface, you have to act quickly. A fast response shows that you are paying attention, and that you’re willing to do what it takes to satisfy customer questions or concerns. Respond with a quick and courteous apology and assure them that you are looking into the issue. But actually follow through on the promise.

“Social media has become an important channel for us as it’s an outlet more and more customers are turning to as a way to share their stories with us, both the exceptional experiences and not so good,” says Elliot Chun, communications manager with Future Shop.

“We’re listening to our customers every day, seven days a week and no matter the manner they are doing business with us we’re ready to help them research, complete or extend their transactions,” adds Chun.

The worst thing you can do is respond with anger. It can be tempting to want to lash out, but going off on a tirade against your critics will only make things worse (and everything on social is public, of course). The more negative your critics are via their comments, the more positive you must be to win them over.

Ignoring them completely can be just as bad. It sends the message that you don’t care, and you certainly don’t want anyone to think that your business doesn’t engage with critics on social.

Turn Negatives into Positives

Negative reviews might seem like an attack on your company, but they can be reversed when handled properly. Take the opportunity to bring attention to the benefits that your company offers, and demonstrate your espoused customer-friendliness. Don’t be defensive, but offer a sincere apology and highlight your strengths.

For example, you could say something like, “We deeply regret that you’re not happy with our service. We make it a point to address every customer concern, and have done so for 10 years. It’s one of the reasons why we have become so successful in our field.” A response like this shows compassion while underscoring that customer service is a priority.

Don’t Delete Bad Reviews

If a customer leaves negative remarks on your company’s Facebook Page or Twitter feed, don’t remove them. You might think it will save face if you delete unfavourable comments before too many people notice, but this could make it look like you are trying to hide something and invite even more backlash from dissatisfied customers. Respond with a kind and professional tone and you will secure a reputation as a company that cares.

Follow Through With Your Promises

If you promise a customer that you will try to fix their problem so it doesn’t happen again, it’s imperative that you follow through. Being on top of criticism is especially crucial in the B2B space where your clients are busy firms who could easily opt for your competition if you fail to give them confidence in your work ethic. Getting bashed for failing to release your product on time? Be upfront about the delay. Facing critiques for a poorly designed website? Pass along the comments to your IT team, learn if the problems are bigger than you think and reach out to the commenter directly. A DM can go a long way.

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