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Small Business Development Center
Member, Texas Tech University System The Princeton Review - 373 Best Colleges, 2011 Edition

Always respond to customer

April 28, 2014

We often find ourselves looking for feedback, such as reviews on places or things of interest to make sure we are making the right decision or that we will make our time and money worth the while.

Therefore, as business owners you are aware of the importance of customer reviews on your websites, social media and even word-of-mouth comments.

Sometimes being able to handle all the feedback you received from clients can be challenging, but I guarantee it will be worth your time.

Taking time to respond to the good and not-so-good comments will bring tremendous benefits. You will benefit not only from knowing what your customers are saying but also to the things they are paying attention to.

Handling the negative comments can be challenging and overwhelming. Many times we try to cover the criticism by flipping the page, but it is recommendable to address the issue and, if possible and adequate, fix the issue immediately to turn the negative comment into a positive in the future.

To build a loyal customer base, you need to build a culture of saying “yes.” And, with this I mean saying yes not only to the client but even to you and your business. Recognizing you made a mistake can bring you and your company a sense of ownership and taking care of business which most costumers appreciate.

The most important aspect related to negative comments is that they don’t get repeated time after time. If negative comments are not addressed, it can become a serious problem as people can feel it doesn’t matter what they write in the feedback section.

If people keep complaining about the same issue over and over, other customers will understand that things have not been corrected and will not consider your business. If you sense a prolonged back-and-forth exchange could occur, it’s a good idea to try and take the conversation offline. State your willingness to receive any questions or comments through email. Make sure you, or a senior-level staff member, personally address the complaint.

Remember the adage; an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. This situation often can be avoided (or at least substantially mitigated) by ensuring you are tuned into social media at all times, not just when there’s an emergency. Cultivate your business’ followers to proactively share their experiences and recommendations online.

Consumers are smart enough to sniff out and ignore one oddball negative review in a sea of positive ones. And, last but not least, avoid at all times, the creation of new “personas,” or fake accounts to support your position in blogs, forums and message boards, as you’ll likely be caught.

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    Adriana Balcorta-Havins

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