“We aren’t on Social Media! Why?!?! Because someone could say something bad about us on our Facebook page!!!”
<insert panicked incredulous voice here>
I have heard this from more staffing agencies than I can count. To be real, basically, this is the equivalent of the two year old that covers their eyes and assumes they just dominated hide and seek.
So…here it is, I’m gonna give it to you straight. Unless you just started your staffing company this morning, people are already talking about you and your brand online. You just need to decide whether or not you want to know about it.
The most important thing to understand is that negative reviews are not something to be feared or avoided.
In fact, a negative review is an opportunity for your company to shine. A transaction that goes smoothly and without incident will rarely generate the emotional response needed to create brand loyalty and a champion for your business. Think of the last few brands you told your friends about. At least one of them probably won you over because of how they went out of their way to make something they did wrong – right. Negative reviews, comments, and feedback give you the opportunity to do this on a grand scale with many of your potential customers listening and watching… Many brands have built their fan base on the ease with which they deal with screw-ups; people can make big-ticket purchases knowing that if ANYTHING goes wrong it won’t be a big deal. Piece of mind is priceless. Costco, Zappos, and Nordstroms (just to name a few), cash in on the value of this concept everyday.
Think of a time when you spent an hour or more on the phone with an angry customer (who may or may not have had a valid complaint). Hopefully, you checked your ego at the door, listened, and did your best to make it right–and that customer became your biggest fan. You hung up the phone exhausted and proud of your efforts, but that success most likely ended with that one call, and that one person, without ever having the chance to be seen by anyone else. With social media, that same interaction can play out on Facebook for all to witness… your current and potential market can easily see what they can expect if something goes wrong. WOW!
Having said all that; yes, handling your online reputation is a big deal and needs to be done well and consistently.
There are exceptions to every case, but it is important to have company wide best practices to follow based on an average of how most negative reviews go.
THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS: Respond quickly and publicly without arguing the specific points of the review. There are many reasons for this, some are for the reviewer and some are for the other people reading the review:
- You are in a public space on a social forum, people generally take to this medium to voice their frustration because they feel (justly or unjustly) as if they haven’t been heard by YOU. The sooner this need is met, the sooner most people will stop blasting you online.
- Still nervous that it’s public? I get it, BUT the people reading the negative review will see what? That you aren’t perfect? Well, they know that businesses screw up! Now they know that if you DO screw up, you will listen, respond and that you will do your best to make it right. Now they don’t have to trust in your perfection (which is doomed to be a disappointment) they just need to trust that you care, listen and act.
- Don’t ever get into a mud-slinging fight, because you will only get covered in mud! Often times there are flat out untruths or misunderstandings in a negative review. It is so easy to want to “set the record straight”. It is natural to want to defend your brand, yourself or your employees BUT there are VERY few times where this doesn’t just sound like feuding childish siblings locked in a he-said she-said contest. Show your customers that you care about helping and listening, and less about being “right” and proving the reviewer wrong. Perception is truth, and this is the reviewer’s truth. END OF STORY.
- Keep it simple and short – You want them to know you are sorry to hear about their experience and that you would like to find out more about the incident because they matter and their time and their feelings matter. Your goal isn’t to change their mind in this message, just to communicate that they have been heard and that you are opening a dialogue.
- Get them offline – ask for them to contact you directly so you can find out exactly what happened and make it right. This will take the back-and-forth offline and contain the damage.
- If they won’t go offline and instead just continue to blast you after you have done everything right…. DON’T worry! If you have been nothing but respectful and they just won’t quit, people will start to see that, and again you are showing what you and your brand stand for. We have all been behind the angry belligerent person in line at the store. Do you blame the checker? Of course not; you feel sorry for them and want to be extra nice to them. Don’t underestimate your customers–they know good when they see it.
- Follow Through – If you ask them to contact you offline and they do… follow up and follow up QUICKLY! If the reviewer does what you ask and you drop the ball AGAIN… and they don’t feel heard AGAIN… well, good luck! They already took to social media once!
- Do not delete negative comments or reviews. This is soooooo tempting, but unless they are vulgar and attack an individual, resist the urge to make it “go away”. The reviewer already thinks you are not listening and has no problem taking their issues to a public forum. If you delete their comment, now you went from unresponsive and incompetent in their eyes, to unethical and deceptive. If you thought the first comment was a PR nightmare… just wait.
So, WHEN (not IF) negative online reviews and comments happen just take a deep breath, and listen, be kind, and be respectful. I promise one of these nightmares will turn into one of your biggest wins.
Ready to take charge, find out what your customers are saying about your staffing company online and how to respond? Contact Staffing Robot, we can help.
More help from Staffing Robot: If you don’t know how happy your customers are, that could be a problem. Hively lets you address customer issues in real time, measure customer happiness and reward employees for providing exceptional customer service.