22 Jul

Nip it in the bud

A quick-ish but, potentially, quite important post…

If you own/work within a company and start receiving complaints that are all of a similar nature, look into it ASAP.
Look into it before you become known for acting in a certain way, or for being a company with a particular problem.

People – possible customers – look into companies and spot patterns when looking to buy from those companies.

I’ve just had a nightmare situation arise, in dealing with a particular travel company.
They seemed reputable, but when I looked into their reviews (retrospectively) across TripAdvisor, TrustPilot, and the complaints on their own Twitter feed, the same thing came up repeatedly: they take money from your card, don’t give you what you paid for, and they’re then almost impossible to get in contact with/get answers from.

We’re not talking about old reviews – these are as recent as five hours ago.
The stream of complaints is relentless… and they’re consistently about the same issue.

If your company gets just a handful of complaints about one issue, get on top of it straight away and look to fix the problem.

The other important thing is how you respond.

Do not – on public forums – respond to each customer complaint by pointing an angry, accusatory finger back at the customer (even if they did something a bit iffy): it just looks terrible.
Simply give a calm, diplomatic response, which shows you’re looking to resolve the situation, then contact the customer by phone.

Also, don’t – as this travel company does – give bland, generic, uncaring responses. When those responses are all listed underneath each other – as on Twitter or a review site – it looks awful: it looks like you don’t care about service and are just churning out ‘blah, blah, blah’ replies.
You may say that you don’t have time to give individually tailored responses, but you shouldn’t have that many complaints that you need to ‘save time’ by giving a template answer.

Once you have a reputation for acting in a certain way, it’s very hard to rid yourself of it and get customers to trust you again.

If you see a consistent problem coming up, nip it in the bud.

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