Are you experiencing a social media disaster that you are trying to remedy? Given the popularity of social media for professional and personal use, you are not alone. There are many small businesses and organizations that have faced this reality and have had to fix it using public relations approaches. While many of these disaster stories could have been avoided, some of them are honest errors. Whatever scenario you’re experiencing, remember that you can fix such problems. Even though no small business owner wants to receive negative publicity, you can redirect the focus to something more positive. To do a quick, effective reversal, it is best to hire a public relations or other professionals to handle things. In the meantime, you should be as proactive as you can. Reach out to your existing clients to let them know the truth and possibly to ask them for their positive testimonials. You could provide these testimonials to the public relations firm. Publicizing the good aspects of your business could be a first good step to letting customers and other businesses know what you have to offer in terms of goods and services. After a setback, a proactive stance is better than remaining silent and expecting things to go back to normal. In the business world, it just does not work like that.
A quick response is essential to handle a customer’s issues, but remember that social media is different from other forms of communication, such as phone calls. If you are not online when a customer posts a problem, it can sit there unresolved for the whole world to see. It is important for small business owners to have a virtual assistant that handles their social media accounts in order to maintain immediate and ongoing communication with customers. A virtual assistant manages social media accounts, can spot negative comments, and knows how to handle them. Hundreds or even thousands might see a Twitter message in just a few minutes. The longer a company does not respond to the situation, the worse the image may form about the company. Modern and effective media monitoring services and active customer service representatives can provide timely reactions. Media monitoring helps identify negative comments, even if they are not addressed directly to someone. The service enables companies to participate in discussions that otherwise might be more difficult to find. To speed up your response in dealing with negative comments, you can
It’s important to try to keep discussions with customers friendly and professional. When the company makes a mistake, it needs to issue an honest apology. At all costs, it should avoid the formal apologies often used in corporate communications known as nonapologies. Being sincere is better. During formal nonapologies, companies and organizations often push responsibility aside. They do not admit that they’ve made mistakes. Such excuses don’t improve the company's image. The hashtag #nonapology consists of tweets of empty corporate apologies every day on Twitter, demonstrating how people can circulate those tweets and other insincere messages widely. Honest apologies show that companies and organizations are honest and willing to admit their mistakes. They also illustrate how companies and organizations do not want to put themselves above their customers. It is incredibly important for customer service to be professional and polite. Although discussions on social media are often relaxed and personal, companies and organizations should maintain their professionalism. Such behavior reflects well on the brand. It gives customers the impression that you want to handle situations professionally and effectively. A professional and calm manner and a willingness to compromise are important. The customer does not necessarily have to be right, but the customer must always feel valued.
If finding a mutual solution takes longer or is difficult in other ways, consider leading the discussion into a more private conversation. This also can create a positive image with customers, because personal contact can show respect that cannot be expressed as Facebook comments or other more public ways. Private messages allow participants to discuss problems better without attracting the attention of the rest of the world. Customers might be able to relax, simply because the company has personally accepted the task of solving the problem. Phone calls are particularly personal and may satisfy customers further.
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