talking behind your backCan you be sure your customers aren’t talking behind your back? Hopefully they’ll be saying something nice about your business, but you can’t always be sure. What you can be sure of is if you’re not on social media you’ll not necessarily know about it.

Customers are increasingly going to social media to interact with businesses – in fact, according to the Institute of Customer Service last year there was an 8-fold increase in customer complaints via social media.

I for one have found I get much better engagement from businesses than I do through other means like emailing or calling their support line – you don’t have to sit in a queue or navigate your way through what seems like an endless IVR system to start with, plus, because they’re public forums, other users join in.

But customer complaints shouldn’t be a reason for your business to stay away.

I was talking to a business owner the other week. He had taken over the business a while back but at a time when it had a bad reputation and he said he’s been keeping away from social media purely because there’s so much negativity about his business, even though, now, there’s no foundation for that negativity. I gave him this advice:

  1. Get on social media
  2. Show the haters that things have changed – engage with them, don’t ignore them
  3. Ask your current happy customers to get online and shout about what a good service you’re offering
  4. Build up a positive reputation for your business and that positivity will eventually drown out the negative comments

By interacting via social media this business can recover from the negative PR by putting the story straight, highlighting what has changed in the business and by putting out a positive message. It’s also important for prospective customers – if they see the negativity, unchecked, it’s going to be harming the businesses reputation.

I don’t know whether the business took my advice. I hope they did. It’s no good putting your head in a sand and pretend social media doesn’t exist and people aren’t talking about you (in a good or a bad way).

Hopefully your business has a positive vibe online. If you’re not sure or if you need help turning the haters into lovers, get in touch – I have just the strategy to set the record straight!

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