Online ratings are like gold in your hands. Those reviews let you know in real-time how your customers think of you. A dissatisfied customer brings a premium opportunity. When you listen and respond to their issue online, your audience witnesses how you handled it. You develop a trust with your community and people buy from people they trust.
I rented a car from Hertz recently. My car got hit and I took it to the dealership where my friends work and where I usually get it serviced. They have a Hertz office right there on the dealership’s premises and it was prearranged by the insurance company. However, so surprisingly bad was my experience with Hertz, I feel compelled to tell the story here to illustrate how important it is to listen to the customer.
The manager and staff of the Hertz office were appallingly rude and downright nasty. I gave them a second chance to rectify my situation but instead they provided more rope to hang themselves with. I decided to make my experience known to the Hertz Corporation. Surely they would listen and be responsive, right? Thanks to my many hours of diligent and passionate Social Media usage, I knew exactly how to execute my plan. I decided to roll it out in phases. Here’s how it went:
- First phase: Post a 1-star review on Yelp, Google Places and Citysearch. No response.
- Second phase (the following day): Tweet them. Boom, I got a response saying they’d “look into it”. I’m encouraged.
- Third phase (after hearing nothing more from them for a week): Post on Hertz’ Facebook Wall. They removed my post within 19 minutes!
- Fourth phase (the next day): Post again on their Facebook Wall referring to the removed-post earlier and ask for a response. They responded saying they didn’t remove the post (OMG!) and then removed my second post.
At that point, I gave up. 10 days later, they finally responded. The gentlemen was nice but I had lost my passion for helping them out by telling them what a horrible experience I had. I didn’t trust that they were interested in listening. Everyone wants to know that the people they do business with listen to them when they have an issue. I’ve seen many times where companies have listened and the Social Capital that’s earned is tremendous.
The very act of listening is evidence that you care. Hertz had many chances to fix my situation. I can edit and/or delete ANY of my reviews or comments and I would have, if they had responded in a reasonable time-frame and addressed my issues. The old saying, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression” can be used everyday with respect you how your team responds to your customers. Each contact with the customer is the chance to make a good impression, develop trust and create great word-of-mouth.
Listening is free. You find out so much when you do it. Do you have a system of listening in place at your store? Social Media has amplified conversations and that’s to your advantage! You find out immediately what the temperature is like in your database. If it’s not to your liking then change it. There’s nothing like immediate feedback to make you better at serving your customer.