Last night, I had a very disappointing experience at one of the major retailers. I had to go to the store three different times throughout the day to have my situation handled, and even then, it was not handled to my satisfaction. By about the second visit, I was already thinking of ways to write negative reviews on the social networks and let my frustration be known at least to my connections.
However, on my third visit, the administrator at the major retailer handed me my receipt and circled directions on how to access an online survey. She encouraged me to share my thoughts. Gladly.
So, I got home and instead of directing my anger to the social media platforms, I filled out this company’s online form. I had 1000 characters to share my thoughts, in two different places, and I used all 1000 characters. At the end, I was satisfied that I had gotten my point across, and didn’t take any further action.
The retailer made a brilliant move in this situation. As a consumer, I was rightfully angry. But they provided a way for me to express my opinion within their confines. None of that anger spilled over into platforms they didn’t control. If I had left a response say in Facebook, my friends would have seen it, people would have likely commented, and this retailer would have been negatively portrayed to my group of friends. So, here is the most important way that you can stop negative customer reviews before they happen:
Provide Angry Customers with a Platform to Share Their Thoughts
Here are some examples of how you can provide ways for angry customers to share their thoughts. These are in order of level of interaction:
- The most direct platform would be a phone call from a manager or someone higher up in the company.
- A survey form like the option listed above.
- A place on your website where people can leave comments.
- Using social media and location-based platforms to allow users to leave comments. Sometimes you don’t have as much control over responding to or deleting comments.
By providing a place for angry customers to share their thoughts, you provide a legitimate outlet for the angry person to make their voice heard. Many times, the comments will be legitimate and sometimes they will be outrageous. If you have the ability to respond where others can see, respond once in a very kind matter and leave it at that. If the comments are legitimate, take them to heart and seek to rectify the situation. The customer may go from sharing a negative experience to describing a positive experience.
Additionally, the particular major retailer I mentioned above used the survey form to find out what I thought about their online store. It was sandwiched within the areas where I could share my thoughts about my experience. It made me mad to answer these types of questions during the survey, but it was brilliant on their part as they gathered some important market research that I was willing to share in order to give my opinion about my experience.