If you spend any amount of time online, you will run into criticism.
Criticism comes in many forms: bullies, rightfully annoyed customers, bored teenagers, and plain old trolls who are just hoping to get a rise out of an entrepreneur or business owner.
As an online business owner, entrepreneur, and writer, I am no stranger to online criticism.
If you have read a few of my posts, there is even a good chance you’ve seen me criticized, and you have might have noticed my response is most often silence.
In most cases, silence is the best way to prevent escalation. You don’t have to engage with people who don’t agree with you.
This strategy is also what is right for my personal brand.
But it might not be what is right for your brand.
It might be in your best interests to respond to criticism and negative SEO, particularly if you have a service or brick-and-mortar business.
On the other hand, you don’t want to end up on the news, like Amy’s Baking Company did after their memorable blow up on social media following an appearance on Kitchen Nightmare in 2013.
The entire situation escalated way out of control.
So, why does the way you respond to online criticism matter?
Because, in a crowded market, a great customer experience is one of the most effective ways of setting your brand apart.
Happy customers will share their experience with people they know. In other words, happy customers help you build your business further.
Online reviews matter.
Here is why.
More and more customers are turning to social media to solve their customer service problems. Why is that?
Because, according to a study by eMarketer, customers get frustrated on the phone. In fact, 32% said it was the most frustrating customer service channel.
Long wait times, poor communication, and lack of resolution might all play a role in this perception.
So, because they don’t want to call a brand’s customer service line, customers turn to social media — where they spend a great deal of time already.
In fact, nearly 81% of the United States population has at least one social media account.
That number will likely continue to grow based on trends in the last decade, as shown by the following chart from Statista.
Okay, so tons of people are on social media, and they are frustrated by the customer support options via phone.
But what does responding on social media mean for your bottom line? Surely, it couldn’t matter much.
You might think that more traditional forms of customer service would carry more weight.
Actually, responding on social media can have big implications for your bottom line.
According to research by Twitter, customers who received a fast response on social media were both willing to spend more money and are more likely to tell their friends about the experience.
For example, in this exchange, Southwestair responded to the customer in just two minutes.
Responding to your customers’ questions and concerns can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived by the public.
Accenture found that, in the last year, 52 percent of consumers have changed service providers due to poor customer service.
That means that over half of consumers have turned to a competitor when they were displeased with customer service.
A report on customer engagement from Accenture estimated that the amount of lost revenue due to poor customer service is as high as $1.6 trillion.
I don’t know about you, but I could use a cut of $1.6 trillion dollars.
Put simply, great customer service increases revenue and terrible customer service costs you money.
Happy customers spend more money on your business, and they tell more people about their positive experiences with your brand.
Responding to criticism online is one part of providing top-notch customer service. In addition to solving one person’s problem, you show prospective customers that you value their time and their money.
Today, I want to share a few amazing strategies that you can use when responding to criticism online. My hope is that these examples will inspire you the next time you face criticism from customers.
But first, I want to dive into the different types of online criticism. [click to continue …]