Customers are essential for any business or freelancer. Without customers handing over their hard-earned cash, you have no income yourself. What convinces you to part with your money? Is it an attractive, desirable product with a trendy brand badge? Is it the sales pitch and the customer service? Or are you frugal enough to buy only what is essential at the lowest price you can buy it? Are you right?
Every customer is different. You might have all the metrics and analytics in the world churning out a detailed customer persona. But each sale you make comes from a unique individual. The way they do things is the way that is right for them. That means they undoubtedly come with expectations based on what they already know about your brand.
If you position your brand as the budget line then expectations about customer service and product quality may not be high. But if you’re the innovative, trendy brand, then each customer, regardless of the cost paid or budget, will expect much greater things.
Customer psychology and sales journeys are topics for another post. However, you must consider these things if you are to meet the expectations of the customer. You need to deliver what they believe to be right.
Customers do, undoubtedly, get it wrong. They can fall foul of assumption making. Reading reviews from other customers, including the fake or uninformed ones, will set expectations.
With so much misinformation out there, it is essential you cut through the noise and clearly define what the customer should expect. Use your product pages and your website. Brand perception and brand consistency are essential in your promotions too. Most importantly, they must be maintained during complaints.
Negative feedback is far more common in a public arena than positive. Complaints can often start on Facebook or even Twitter. Regaining control of the conversation without appearing to censor a disgruntled customer is key.
Usually, businesses hire specialist agents to manage their social media. Some handle it in-house. Have a look at how the Peninsula business complaints procedure page on LinkedIn details the positives as well as the negatives. Peninsula offers the customer the freedom of options and welcomes the feedback. Trying to silence a customer is not the best approach.
Start by inviting the customer to follow a procedure that helps their complaints be tackled quickly and easily. This should be a private conversation. Make sure your agent is offering help immediately to solve any problems. Most users of social media quickly recognise a person having a heated rant and will, for the most part, ignore it. But they will be interested to see how the business handles it.
Try to stay personable rather than official and corporate. If your company policy is, “the customer is always right” then agree with them that things should have happened in a better way.
Once your customer is ready to engage, rather than shout abuse or negative comments, work together to solve the customer’s problem. Assure them that these problems should not have happened and that your business has a procedure to make sure it can’t happen to anyone else. Move the conversation to a private forum like email or messenger. Finally, assess the response and the effectiveness of your agent. Was the customer right?