Forget Sticks and Stones: Words CAN Hurt Your Business!
“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That’s a great expression, but it’s not so true in the business world. With the speed and popularity of today’s online media and smartphones to instantly deliver and receive that media, words are more powerful than ever! Sometimes it’s hard to know what is fact or fiction.
All it takes these days is one negative review, one negative comment, or even one negative news story to completely ruin a company’s image. Users’ words paint a picture for the reader that cannot be erased easily. (Since I’m full of adages today, think: “A picture’s worth a thousand words”). How do you compete against instant bad publicity? You have to be a go-getter.
You can’t sit around on your thumbs, just waiting for publicity. People expect perfection from the products and services they seek and they will typically not give reviews unless they are unhappy. It’s unfortunate but true! So, in order to get a few positive reviews for your company, you need to go out there and encourage your customers to review their experiences. Maybe offer some sort of incentive for a completed review (whether it’s a good review or a bad one – I’m not suggesting that you bribe clients for glowing reviews) or give away some free logo merchandise with each completed review. You can also create a blog to inform people what’s going on with your business and create the image you’d like to convey to the public.
Take care of every customer, every time.
Of course, the best way to avoid negative reviews is to TREAT EVERYONE THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED in the first place. Be careful with your words when speaking to customers; even if you’re having the worst day ever, you should never take it out on others. No matter what your company sells or specializes in, you’re going to run into snags and face problems along the way. Remember, accidents and mistakes are unavoidable in business but it’s not necessarily a death sentence if you ‘fess up to it and handle the situation diplomatically. Take care of your customers no matter what and you will most likely avoid a lot of negative reviews!
You have to be proactive with your publicity. If you leave it up to chance, then you will most likely be dissatisfied with the results! Go out there and encourage your customers to review your company, start blogging, submit press releases, and develop relationships throughout your industry and across relating industries to help brand your company.
What are YOU doing to boost your customer service? How are you combating negative online reviews?