Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.
So much of a small business’s success is dependent upon its reputation among customers. It has been said time and time again that word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool. The trick is to keep that word-of-mouth positive and contagious. So how do you keep your reputation in check?
Address negative comments online.
It’s bound to happen at least a couple of times for every business. When a customer leaves a negative comment on one of your public social profiles, don’t delete it as quickly as you can! I promise you, before you have the chance to delete it, someone saw it or took a screen shot of it, so don’t bother. Deleting the comment only makes your company look bad, and like you have something to hide. Instead, let the commenter know that your main priority is the customer’s happiness, and to please contact you right away so that you can address the issue. This will show your other online customers that your business calmly and efficiently deals with issues, rather than sweep them under the rug.
Hear the customer out.
Then there are some customers that go beyond simply leaving a negative comment. They want to be heard specifically by your company. If you have an unhappy customer that wants to “speak with a manager,” I recommend handling the correspondence personally, as the business owner. Obviously, we can’t tackle every little problem, but I make a point to take on the bigger issues. Simply calling the customer personally, or answering an email as the CEO, will show that the whole business, all the way to the top, really does care about the customer’s happiness. I’ve had plenty of previously unhappy customers tell me that they were surprised and pleased to deal directly with the CEO. Dealing with the bigger issues in this manner minimizes any negative word-of-mouth. A very unhappy customer can spread negative feedback like wild fire, but you can nip it in the bud by addressing the problem head on.
Keep up your social media.
Updating your social outlets on a regular basis shows your customers that you’re always present. If you go online and see a business’s Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in four months you think, “Are they still in business?” And if they are, then the immediate assumption is that they must not be very on top of things. You don’t need to consistently post throughout the day, but about once a day on all of your outlets is just enough to let your customers know that you’re there. Plus, if you’re following the golden rule of social media (providing interesting, engaging content that you yourself would read) your customers will be looking forward to your daily posts!