danniewriter

Head butting, reconstructed

If you own or manage a business, it’s likely that one of the least-favorite aspects of your job is responding to customer complaints. And, if you are on social media, it’s possible that the headache turns into a migraine if a troll has latched onto you.

Business Unplugged’s Carol Roth compiled a great collection of advice from business and communications pros about how to handle complaints, and trolls, and how to tell the difference. Some tips mentioned often:

Don’t respond in an angry or defensive manner, especially if you are dealing with a troll instead of a legitimate customer. Trolls want conflict. Don’t feed them.

You may feel that a customer’s complaint is unfair or possibly even untrue. It is your job to listen and respond with professionalism. Provide them with a way to communicate with you directly about their complaint. Direct messaging via the platform (Facebook or Twitter, for example), is the best way to start.

When you respond with patience and restraint, your faithful customers and supporters will chime in with their stories of great experiences at your business.

Respond, even if you need to step away from the computer for a while first to cool down. The silence of not responding screams to current and potential customers, “I don’t care if you’re happy or not.”

You have no control over reviews and comments on other sites such as Yelp, but it’s possible for you to block a follower from your own Facebook or Twitter feed. Do this only as a last resort. If you are dealing with someone who simply wants to rant, and if you have made an effort to respond in a reasonable and professional way, you can control who can post on your feeds. Do it too often, however, and you get the same blowback as not responding at all.

Finally, try to keep a sense of humor about everything. It’s not always easy, but it’s possible it will keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. As an aside, it’s OK to approach complaints and haters with humor, too, but make sure you really have a gift for it first. It’s a tricky business to convey sarcasm online. Check out some pros who do it really well, Moon Pie and Wendy’s.

Light bulbs

thinker1

Marketing Monday came and went without a post yesterday because I’ve been impressed recently by several articles on this mammoth subject and its infinite number of ancillary topics. In short: I couldn’t decide what to write about yesterday.

So I gave it some more thought and decided to share the best of the brightest I’d run across the past few days.

There’s a lot of pontificating (often I refer to this as “balloon juice”) out there intended to make authors/presenters look really smart. Inevitably they end up complicating, and then renaming, things that are essentially fairly simple to understand. One of my favorite examples is the term “signage,” which is now firmly embedded in our lexicon, but let’s face it, folks, “signs,” works just fine too.

But I digress.

In addition to the balloon juice is a great deal of informative, illustrative and no-nonsense articles and observations about marketing, public relations, social media, etc.

Here’s some info and links on the ones that really caught my eye. I ran across the first two on LinkedIn.

Last week I blogged about print not being dead. This week I ran across a post from Yvonne Parkinson that references data to back that up. Yes, as director of a printing firm she has a big dog in the fight, but the figures come from Direct Marketing Association in the UK so I think the figures are pretty solid no matter which side of the pond you are on.

Some might consider the next one as approaching clickbait status (more on that below), but after reading it, I disagree. Yes, it was the mention of the movie, The Breakfast Club (one of my all-time faves), that caught my eye, but this brief observation from Rex Weaver, a mover and shaker in the automotive industry, provides insight on how you can approach your audience with a fresh perspective. He defines three terms of customer “segmentation” that are not in the least snooty-sounding: User Based, Benefit Based and Occasion Based.

The last two come from HootSuite, the platform that enables users to post to multiple social media accounts simultaneously. They offer other stuff too.

HootSuite has just released its 2015 Social Media Glossary, enabling dabblers to figure out what those pretentious pundits are talking about, or perhaps empowering dabblers to sound like pretentious pundits themselves. Seriously, this is good info. Read this and you’ll understand why Rex Weaver’s Breakfast Club post is not┬áin the least clickbait … among other helpful things.

This last one is so insightful for business owners who are on social media. It illustrates why it is impossible for shops large and small (and non-profits, too) to “do” social media halfway. If you have started a Facebook page, Twitter feed or Pinterest board and simply abandoned it, you may be leaving a billboard of customer/donor dissatisfaction on the InterWebz for all the world to see … forever. Don’t let this happen to you.