3 Steps for Handling Complaints & Negative Reviews Online

Social Media is an incredible tool for many businesses. It is a great way to connect with your customers, target audience, and potential clients in somewhat of an informal setting. Unfortunately, it also provides opportunity for those who find themselves dissatisfied with your product or service, a place to vent. Specifically on sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp.

While it’s wonderful to receive positive reviews, many times negative posts tend to outshine and ultimately weigh heavily on your new & impressionable, visitors.

Seeing as there’s no way to prevent negative reviews, we’ve come up with three easy steps to help your business to handle them.

1) Do not delete the comment. Many times, your instinct will tell you to delete – but that often causes more harm than good. Ignoring & banishing the complaints of your customers will only aggravate them further. To be sure that their voice is heard, they may enlist friends and family members to spam your social accounts with negative comments as well, thus creating a much larger problem than initially intended.
2) Respond, but choose your words wisely. You’ve made the smart decision to keep the comment public, now it’s time to respond…and fast. Take the time reply to the individual(s) as promptly as possible. Your response should first and foremost always be professional. Do not get defensive or aggressive with your words. It is appropriate to apologize for whatever may be angering this customer; be sure to let them know that you sympathize and understand their frustration.
3) Fix it. The last step in this process is to make an effort to rectify the situation to the best of your ability. Sometimes people simply want to speak to someone – put them in touch. If they want a refund or replacement – do your best to adhere to that request. If all else fails, offer a discount, coupon, free additional service, etc. We may not always be able to make everything 100% better, but giving it your best effort will hopefully leave the customer with a less bitter taste in their mouth, and prevent them from further posting negative comments about your company on the internet.
The best part about social media is that it allows people to interact directly with brands and companies – use this opportunity to your advantage. Do your best to converse with those who are singing your praises, as well as those who are doing just the opposite. Either way, your attention will be appreciated.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Networking 101 – Tips from Image Marketing Consultants

‘It’s all about networking’ is very quickly becoming a cliché, but don’t forget: clichés become clichés because they’re expressive and usually hit the bull right between the eyes (which, of course, is a cliché).

 

Networking is good for business, for individual advancement, for all manner of projects, promotions, plans and initiatives—good for just about everything. But as with most other forms of marketing, there are good ways and bad ways, right ways and wrong ways, useful ways and useless ways of doing it. Here are a couple of good, right and useful ways:

  • Always carry business cards with you—but don’t throw them out to everybody you bump into. Successful networking is about engaging the right people.
  • Listen as much as you talk. Sometimes, listen more than you talk. Figuring out what some of the specific needs of a potential client may be—which you can only do by listening—can result in valuable business. Just talking about yourself may not.
  • Help connect others. Introduce professionals who share common interests, businesses or industries. That can always work its way back to you in some positive way.
  • Be friendly and helpful. Share some professional insights and stories, or pass along relevant articles or blogs. Just as importantly, don’t necessarily expect anything in return.
  • Be proactive. Seek out individuals you would like to connect with and arrange to meet them. Decisiveness and intent, as long the self-serving nature of it takes a backseat to friendliness, helpfulness and sharing, can go a long way in letting people know what you’re looking for.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Website Management Responsibilities

Should large companies with dozens of departments, divisions or units allow employees within those separate entities to be in charge of their own sections of the corporate internet or intranet? It’s actually one of the tougher questions, only because there are legitimate pros and cons on both sides of the issue.

Pro: No one knows a department as well as the people who live inside that department.

Pro: Departmental employees know better than anyone else when important changes need to be made to their particular web page.

Pro: If a department has a certain ‘personality’ that makes it special and different, who better to communicate that than the people who give it that personality?

Con: Not every department, division or unit has a writer skilled enough to write appropriate web copy. Every page of every corporate site must be concise, effective and error-free.

Con: Departmental employees may just be too busy to take the time necessary to make web page changes and modifications. That’s not in their job descriptions—and they may even come to resent the responsibility.

Con: Just because a department has a personality, it doesn’t mean that personality should be part of the corporate site. There is often much more value in a corporate site having a singular, professional voice.

Of course, many large companies have a professional copywriter on board who is skilled at maximizing every department’s web page while maintaining cohesion on the overall corporate site. Other companies hire a full-service marketing communications firm that has expert writers, designers and project managers on staff to do it for them. After all, the larger the company, the more pros and cons need to be weighed.

Effective Website Management

Almost every company has a website today. In fact, if a company doesn’t have a website, many potential customers wonder why it is so behind the times and may even consider passing them up in favor of a more contemporary firm—one that realizes we’re living in the Twenty-First century.

And then, of course, there are those companies that have a website simply because they have to have a website—but do very little to maintain or update it. Okay, so they’re in the Twenty-First Century—but wish they weren’t. As much as they may like to, they can’t have it both ways.

Sometimes the problem is that these leaders don’t know the first thing about websites and don’t want to spend the funds necessary to have someone on staff who does. Other times it’s because they haven’t taken the time to read up on the value of effective website marketing.

What company leaders need to realize is that this new century is populated by many marketing communications firms that know exactly what to do when a website isn’t doing its job. And you know what? That way, these same leaders can have it both ways.

When do you know you need a new website or need to completely update the one you’ve got?

  • When you can’t remember the last time anyone worked on it.
  • When you look at it and realize that it no longer accurately reflects your brand.
  • When you check with your customers and discover that your site long ago stopped being useful to them.
  • When no one knows it exists!

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Social Media Management

Based on what’s going on out there, many companies are deciding to use social media to promote their businesses. They take a giant leap to get a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms—and then, inexplicably, forget about it. They don’t take the time to add new posts and news to their pages. Many experts say that it’s better to have no social media business page at all if you’re going to end up having one that’s essentially empty.

If you’re going to make the move to social media marketing, before you start:

  • Discuss with your team whether or not you’ll have enough content and ideas to update it at least every few days.
  • Study some of the business sites out there analogous to yours and see what attracts the most attention (likes, comments, etc.)
  • Determine who in your organization can adequately devote several hours a week to the effort, or, in lieu of that, commit to hiring a social media expert or marketing firm to do it for you.
  • Don’t let up. Keep it going. It’s still a relatively new marketing method with a lot of unknowns—but what is known is that inactivity leads to disinterest.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.