If you read our article How to use Twitter search to manage your online reputation, you may have asked yourself this question. How do I respond to a complaint? What if the complaint is not legitimate or reflects what we do at our tourism business?
Responding to complaints is a must-do business strategy and you can determine how you will respond. But there are some tactful ways to do this and there are some rules for online reputation management that could help you respond well and not engage in online fighting about who is right, or build a strategy that rewards complaints. Balancing your words and actions can be tough, and it is a skill. Each situation will need a careful analysis and time is always required before you respond.
Rules for online reputation management responses
1. Do not publicly reward a complaint with a free night stay, free tour or free service when a customer complains. If you see a complaint online either on your Facebook fanpage, your Twitter feed or Tripadvisor page, publicly giving away something for free will only show others that you reward complaints. Once customers see that someone received something for free, they will start submitting complaints, real or not to get that free thing! If you really feel that a customer should be offered a free service for their inconvenience, Direct message them or send them an email with a coupon.
2. Do not argue or say that a complaint is not true publicly. Arguments online are as unfortunate as off line and once you press that publish button it is there for life. If the information is really not true, then send a personal email to the person and state your case. If the customer responses and you are able to come to an agreement about the situation, then request that the comment be removed.
3. Wait a while until you respond online. It is easy to see a poor review and get on the computer and respond. Look at the information and wait. A response from the hip is not the best tactic. Wait some time (that is up to you how long you need to wait) until you can think through your response.
These 3 rules could save your business
Complaints are hard to swallow and in most cases hard to manage. If you keep these three rules in mind, you will find that customers will appreciate the care you take to respond and that your responses are…helpful. Not all complaints are true, that we know, but it is important that you respond well to these untrue complaints or that you address the legitimate complaints taking the above three steps into consideration. Complaints that are not responded to is as bad as ignoring a customer at your front desk when they have a concern. Respond and respond fairly so that people know you are paying attention to your guests.
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