When it comes to running a business, large or small, reputation management can be both the hardest and most rewarding thing you can do. When customers complain to you it is a golden opportunity to manage and improve your reputation with the world in general.
Keep Your Cool
The first thing you should do when dealing with customer complaints is to keep your cool. This is a very touchy time and you may feel defensive about your company, employees, and brand, but, if you can keep your cool, then it is easier to build your reputation than to destroy it. A good idea is to take a couple of deep breaths and remember that the customer is upset over something that you may be able to fix to your advantage.
See the Opportunity
Reputation management is all about seeing the opportunity in every situation. When it comes to customer complaints, the opportunity is in getting real-time feedback on problems you may not have thought existed. For instance, if you own a retail store and your customers are complaining about line length, then it is an opportunity for you to hire another cashier and keep more lines open during peak hours.
It is difficult to get active feedback from your customers and when you do, it is usually bad. This is just human nature; it is easier to share a complaint than a compliment. This means that every piece of feedback is an opportunity to see the strengths and weaknesses of your business. When the feedback happens online, then a broader audience can see how well you handled the complaint, letting your response act as free advertising.
Fix the Problem
When you are trying to manage the reputation of your company, fixing problems brought up by customer complaints can do a lot of good. When customers see you take feedback and then act on it to improve your company, it can keep even disgruntled customer coming back to your business. Some problems are easier to fix than others, but sometimes it is the effort that counts. Even if you are not able to fix the problem that the customer has, showing them that you are listening and will try to help them out can be enough to keep your reputation intact.
Reputation management is about seizing the opportunities handed you to learn and grow from your mistakes. In the business world, this means taking customer complaints and using them to your advantage by keeping your cool, seeing the opportunity and fixing the problem.