Online Reviews

Dealing with customers online: 4 steps to save and maintain your online reputation

In today’s online marketplace, social media and online review sites have made it very easy for an angry or disgruntled customer to post a scathing review of their experience with your product or service. It’s easy to snap a photo or video while on tour, pointing out a problem or some disappointing unexpected aspect of the customer’s experience.

And you can’t just worry about Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You also have to look out for negative reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp, both of which have basically been the de facto review site for vacation experiences not just in Hawaii but around the world.

We’ll discuss how to keep track of all these social media and website mentions of your brand in a separate post, but as a Hawaii attractions or activity business owner, what are you to do to make sure your online reputation doesn’t suffer? Have no fear, here are a few suggestions that will help you maintain – and perhaps improve – your online reputation.

Address the problem head on

There’s no time like the present as the old adage goes, and that certainly rings true with your online reputation. A simple complaint can easily be re-tweeted and shared on social media within a matter of hours; the faster you respond to any complaints, the easier it is for you to steer the resulting conversation into something meaningful both for you and for your customer.

Apologize and show that the problem is being addressed

Opening your initial response with an apology eases tensions quickly and can start a productive public dialogue. From thereon, ask for facts, and then investigate the issue as fast as possible, updating your customer whenever there’s a development. This will provide some level of transparency and gives an impression that you’re committed to solving the issue. With any luck, the problem could be a very simple fix brought about by a clerical or human error.

Go above and beyond mere customer service

Sometimes, solving a problem in a timely manner may not be enough for some online customers, so be ready to provide something that is of perceived value. A free t-shirt, a few Hawaii treats or a gift bag can go a long way. You may even earn more bonus points if your customer shares it on social media with a note of thanks for the effort! At the very least, offer to provide a small refund from their original receipt. Customers like to think that they’re savvy shoppers, and a discount will almost always guarantee appreciation.

Take note of trends and complaint similarities

Sooner or later, you’ll start to notice that you’re getting more complaints about the same issue. It could be about a particular tour, or a particular employee, or even something about one aspect of your operation. This can provide an important insight on improvements to your product or service. If you’re getting more complaints about one particular issue, then perhaps it’s not just a one-off incident; there may be a deeper underlying problem that needs your immediate attention. Addressing such problems now will not only improve your customers\’ experience, it can potentially improve your review ratings online.

Parting notes

You can’t please everyone, but showing that you’re trying your best to alleviate any concerns in a public forum such as Facebook or Trip Advisor goes a long way in giving your potential customers the assurance that you are an exceptional company to deal with.

Still, there will always be that one customer who just can’t be pleased no matter what you do. It’s usually best to take the conversation privately via e-mail and try to resolve any outstanding issues as best as possible.

Do you have a good tip or two, or perhaps a unique experience with a customer that you would like to share? Drop them in the comments below and let’s talk about it!

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