Haters Are Great Brand Management Tools

Haters Are Great Brand Management Tools image grumpycatsucksHaters Are Great Brand Management ToolsJohn Lydgate once said, “You can please some people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of time.” No matter how hard you try to address the needs of every person your brand touches, you’ll still have haters.  Your brand may have earned this hatred, or you may have prospects feeling that way about your brand even though they’ve never interacted with your brand in any way.   In the social media world, your haters will often ‘like’ or follow your brand on social networks just to express their unhappiness in a public forum.   When this happens, you have to keep the following in mind:

The Customer is Always Right – Even If He’s Not

You may think that we have come a long way since the age old ‘customer is always right’ reign, but the reality is, that quote is still is just as relevant and effective as it was when it was coined over a century ago. So even if customers post comments complaining about the efficiency or quality of your products, services, or even your marketing strategies, acknowledge their unhappiness and show that you respect their opinion.   Always address the customer by name.  When responding to the customer, provide him with your email address or phone number and ask him to contact you directly so you can address their concerns as quickly as possible. The great thing about this is that other customers who may have similar concerns may take note of your contact information and contact you.  Once you get those customers on the phone, use this opportunity to turn to unhappy customers into brand advocates

You Don’t Want Every Customer

Here’s where a lot of business owners look at me as if I just sprouted horns on the top of my head.   No, you really don’t want every customer who wants you.   I had to learn this the hard way.   Sometimes you will have customers who are demanding things you can’t possibly deliver.  Instead of trying to win over that customer by making promises you can’t keep (or selling your product or service for a price far below what you normally would), politely point them to another company that can provide them with the product or service they need.  Progressive, the insurance company, is a great example of this strategy.  Their TV ads often mention that they help customers shop for the best insurance rate, even if that rate is not available at Progressive.  It’s better to help potential customers find what they need someplace else than to attempt to provide a product or service you know you can’t deliver.  When your customers see that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your unhappy customers, it will help promote a positive view of your brand’s image.

Offer Available Alternatives

When customers post complaints about the products or services you offer, it is important that their concerns are addressed. Be cordial, apologize and offer alternatives or remunerations where applicable. Don’t, under any circumstances, be rude or offensive.  Conversations on your social network pages are public; if you’re rude to one customer, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll lose many more.  I often advise clients that no matter how badly they’d like to push an upset customer – who’s ranting just for the sake of ranting – over a cliff, they have to smile, take a deep breath and respond in a polite manner.  When your community members see that you can remain calm and professional during the most difficult conversations with customers, you’re contributing to the building (or maintaining) of your brand’s positive image.

Do Not Delete Posts

Clients ask me all the time, “Should I delete this post? It’s kinda rude.”  One mistake most businesses make is to delete negative posts without acknowledging the negative impact it has on their brand’s image.  Think of it this way:  if the customer was standing in front of you at your customer service desk, will the comment she just made require you to remove her from the premises?  If your answer is no, then don’t delete the post.  Be sure not to delete the comments or block the user, unless the feedback is a personal attack against other community members. Always respond to comments, no matter how aggressive or negative they are. Because these posts are visible to your other customers, use this as an opportunity to show just how concerned you are about your customers’ needs.  This strategy will help you build brand loyalty and boost sales.   Offering prompt and viable solutions will enable your community members to see that you respect their opinions and pay attention to their problems and concerns.

Criticism or negative feedback on your social network might be hard to see. You can easily use your haters’ comments to make the delectable proverbial lemonade. The fact is, no feedback is bad feedback as long as it helps you improve the quality of your products or services.   View every interaction with an angry customer as a way to build a bigger and better brand.

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