The thing we all hate happens. We get a customer complaint. It is inevitable that we will all get an unhappy customer at times but it is how we deal with them that matters.
We have two choices. We can either go on the defensive and potentially make matters worse, or we can use the opportunity to learn and improve our business for the future.
Problems are pregnant with possibilities
Generally, unless there is a fundamental fault with the
product or service you are providing (and which you need to acknowledge and fix
immediately), complaints arise from a misunderstanding between parties.
It may something as simple as an order arriving on a date
that the customer believes is late but you believe is on time. This will
lead to you needing to set out your delivery policy in a more clear way.
It may be you supply a product such as a handbag and a customer complaint is the bag is not as large as shown in the picture. This leads to more details needed with your images. Put the bag against something for scale in pictures or quote measurements.
But whatever the complaint, most can be resolved if dealt
with in the right manner.
I met a client recently who had received a complaint and her reaction was to say ‘how dare he?’ and tell me how she was going to phone him and tell him in no uncertain terms how unhappy she was with him. I can just about guarantee 100% with this attitude that this customer will never do business with my client again and will more than likely tell friends and family never to deal with her again either.
I sat her down and asked her to put herself in the
customer’s shoes. Something had happened that caused him to be unhappy
and less than satisfied. Finding out what this was and how to avoid the
situation again in the future was imperative. She needed to look upon
this complaint as an opportunity to improve her business so that she did not
find herself in the same situation again in the future and to help her improve
customer satisfaction to retain other clients.
And again, very recently, I had someone who lost their key client. Why? Because he dared to complain about the standard of work and she took umbrage at this and had an argument with him over it. She is now left struggling to replace the income he took elsewhere.
How to deal with a customer complaint
The first thing to do is to stay calm and try not to take
the complaint personally. The complainant is usually dissatisfied with
the product or service and not you personally. Try to distance yourself
and your feelings and put things into perspective. Taking things
personally will only lead to an emotional response that is likely to make
Acknowledge the complaint
You then need to acknowledge the customer complaint and apologise for how the complainant is feeling. This is not accepting responsibility but is showing empathy for how the other person feels and letting them know you wish to help.
Get the complaint in writing
Wherever possible, ask for the complaint in writing. Or if the person is complaining to you verbally, let them know you are going to write everything down so you can ensure you have all the facts and do not forget anything. This can help as when someone starts to write, they can realise how unreasonable they may be or how they may have overreacted somewhat. Also, if they are in front of you and angry, they will see that you cannot write as fast as they speak and so will have to slow down, which in return will give them more time to breathe and calm down.
Take time to review
You do not need to give a solution immediately if you do not
want to. You can let them know that you are going to review the
complaint, look into what has happened and will get them back to them with a
response in a specified timescale.
This both gives the complainant the satisfaction that you
have listened and something is being done and also gives you the time to
consider what has happened and what you will do to resolve the situation.
Decide upon a solution or response
Now you need to get on and look into the situation and
decide what you are going to do. This will depend entirely upon your
business and what the complaint relates to. It could be a refund, a
product replacement or simply an apology and assurance it won’t happen again if
If however, you find the complaint to be unfounded, be
careful with your response. Be clear that you have investigated the
matter, fully understand their frustration but then explain why you feel there
is not a complaint to answer.
Respond to the complainant
Do make sure you feedback to the customer within the timescale given or be prepared for the complaint to be escalated upon.
Always stay calm, speak slowly if talking to the customer,
and assure them you are taking the complaint seriously as you value their
Even if you cannot come to an amicable solution, they will
hopefully appreciate that you have taken the time and trouble to listen and try
to do something for them.
Document every customer complaint
Now document everything. Just in case this complaint
does not get resolved and is taken further, or resurrects its ugly head in the
future, make sure you have all conversations and facts documented with dates
The exception to the rule
There is always the exception to the rule of course and you may have the misfortune to come across someone who complains just for the fun of it. This person is just out to cause trouble and the best thing to do is to apologise for the way they are feeling and state that you are not a good fit for each other and therefore it will be best to not deal with each other again. Do not let these people bully you or get you to cave in to unreasonable demands.
Just remember, the customer will not so much remember what
you said, but more how you made them feel. Do your best to leave them
feeling you took the time to take them seriously and valued their custom.
You may not do business with them again, but it may a good case of damage
limitation as if they know you genuinely cared, they are less likely to bad
mouth you to future prospects.
Hopefully, by using this method, any customer complaint you have will be dealt with amicably and gain you a reputation for excellent customer care.
Do you get confused when posting on social media. Are you unsure where, when and what to post. Follow these simple tips to make it all a lot easier.
Where to post
Before blindly following the crowd and using the same social media channels as everyone else, stop and think. Which channels are going to work best for YOUR business?
Who is your ideal client and where do they hang out?
Firstly, you need to be clear on who is your ideal client. You need to know who they are, what their
interests are and where they go online to ask questions and find answers to their
problems. When you know this, you will
have a better understanding of where they hang out online.
Facebook is still currently the biggest social media platform
but that doesn’t mean it is the best for your business. If you have a B2B business you could be
better placed using LinkedIn.
If your business is highly visual Pinterest or Instagram could
be the place to hang out.
Instagram has rapidly gained popularity particularly with a
younger audience, but still has to catch on with the older generation. Therefore, if you are looking to gain elderly
clients for arthritic massage sessions, Instagram may not be the best place to
spend your time.
One or two channels can be better than the whole caboodle
To avoid overwhelm, don’t go trying to post on every social
media channel going. It will simply
become too time consuming and confusing.
Choose two channels and become really good at these rather than spreading
yourself too thinly.
When to post
When planning when to post take into consideration what time
zone your ideal client is in and when are they most likely to be active online.
If your target audience is young mums,
they are unlikely to be online when it’s the early morning school run or pick
up. You may be better posting when they
have put the kids to be and are settling down in the evening.
What to post
You want to create a mix of posts both in type and content,
but to attract your ideal client you need to posting what they want to hear
Get social yourself.
Join groups where your ideal client hangs out. What questions are they asking? What are the hot topics? What frustrations are they talking
about? Use this information to create
posts that help solve their problems or give tips to help them towards gaining
solutions for their problems.
Listen to the words and phrases that your ideal clients are
using. Replicate these words in your
posts. If you hear people complaining
and asking for tips on how to get their child to sleep through nightmares,
start your post off with ‘top tip to help your child sleep through a nightmare’. Keep it simple and don’t get so creative with
your words that you lose your target audience.
Look at the interaction within these groups and also watch your competitors. What type of posts get the most response? Is it quotes, pictures, questions or top tips? Replicate these types of posts on your own chosen channel.
P.S. Would you like help planning your social media to help increase your reach to gain more clients and make more money? Join my member’s club for a step-by-step guide. You’ll love it and start to get the results you want. Find out more here.
Have you noticed your reach on Facebook is getting less and less?
You are coming up with what you think are fabulously creative posts and yet still there the comments and likes are so intermittent as to be non-existent?
Well, here is the reason why.
Firstly, one of the simplest reasons may be the huge increase in the number of people using the platform. This means that you are now trying to gain attention from a far larger pot than you were a couple of years ago. More and pages are being created on a daily basis so you really need to make sure that you know who your ideal client is and post things that are going to captivate your audience.
But the other reason that has cropped up relatively recently is that Facebook surveyed hundreds of thousands of people and the overwhelming response was that they didn’t want to see so much promotional content. They wanted to see interesting posts.
Facebook is rewarding quality, not quantity
Therefore, Facebook decided to reward those that created quality content that their audience really wanted to hear about rather than the constant promotions and gimmicks that are so frequently posted.
Facebook is less and less likely to show overly promotional posts that use calls to action and push for sales, to enter competitions etc.
Facebook will seek out those posts that gain interactions such as likes, shares and comments which show they are quality, relevant posts and they will help these posts to reach a wider audience.
Overall, the Facebook algorithm is rewarding those pages who post less and focus on quality rather than those which post numerous times each day that is not of much interest to the audience.
Too many people trying to widen their reach when it drops by posting more often (up to 10 times per day), but this is simply going to work against you.
To increase your reach, you need to make sure you write your posts for what your target audience wants to hear and read. Stop trying to sell so much and concentrate more on giving value and starting to build trust and relationships.
You can still promote your business of course but use your language carefully.
Rather than saying ‘click the link to buy’ try something along the lines of ‘there is something amazing awaiting you on the other side – go check it out’. Do you see the difference?
A few other tips include:
Schedule posts from Facebook rather than a third party software
Some people believe that third party apps, such as scheduling posts from HootSuite, Buffer or similar, will affect reach.
I have tried to get conclusive answers to this but there is so much conflicting information out there. If your reach is significantly dropping and you use third party apps, it may be worth trialing using Facebook’s own scheduler for a while and seeing if it makes any difference. (Do let me know the results in the comments box).
Upload videos directly to Facebook, not via YouTube links
There is numerous research that Facebook favour videos that are uploaded directly to its site rather than via links from YouTube. According to a study by Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal, they discovered that on average, native videos reach 2.04 times more people, receive 2.38 times more likes, 2.67 times more shares, and 7.43 times more comments.
Quite simply, Facebook does not like anything that drives traffic away from its site to an external source. Therefore, any post taking the audience away will simply get less reach.
Don’t overuse links to your website.
Leading on from the point above, Facebook wants to keep people on its site, not to take people away to other platforms. I have seen a few people using a new trick to try and get over this were rather than putting the external link in their main post, they create the post and tell people to look in the comments below for where to go for further information. They then simply put the link as a comment below.
Aim to gain interaction.
Facebook will increase reach to those posts that get likes, comments and even the amount of time someone spends viewing the post.
So how you can encourage this?
People like to feel good, laugh, know the latest gossip and news and be shocked! Think how you can use this in your posts. Use motivational posts, let them in on something funny that has happened in your day, give them the latest hot off the press news. These can be the type of posts that will gain likes, comments, and shares. Ask simple but fun questions!
Now for a disclaimer. At the time of writing, I believe my research and findings to be correct. But good old Facebook can change its rules and algorithms at any moment so test what works for you best and keep an eye what others are doing that are getting the interaction you so desperately want.
P.S. Want a little help getting a post like? Pop the link in the comments below and I will pop over and take a look and if it’s a good one, may just leave you a like and a comment
P.P.S. Do you get stuck when trying to come up with fresh content to post on social media? Does your mind draw a blank and you get confused as to what to post next? Subscribe nowto get immediate access to my simple planner and easily create a whole month’s worth of posts to attract more attention to your business.
Are you able to explain your business to different people in different circumstances? Or do you have a ‘one size fits all’ spiel that you use time and time again?
If the latter, read on …….
You may have seen in my Absolutely Fabulous Facebook group that recently I asked for a short title of what you do such as business consultant, artist, interior designer, accountant etc. This was to create a directory of services of members within the group.
What I got back from many was a long-winded explanation of what they did. These people missed out because I ignored them. They told me what they wanted me to hear not what I was interested in and had asked for.
Some explanations of what they did I simply didn’t understand! It was so gobbledegook I had no idea and even when I asked a couple, they still couldn’t explain it to me!
Some people told me to go look at their website. Why should I? I’m not going to waste my time trying to work it out for myself if they can’t tell me themselves.
Only the next day, another group I am in also asked people to describe what they did in a single sentence.
Here are a few answers:
“I show you how to alchemize your pain into a superpower”
“I provide a soft holding space where you can release anything that holds you back so you can be free”
Now, maybe it’s me but I have absolutely no idea what these people do! Inspiration??? What the heck does that mean?
Then there were clear and concise answers:
“Helping adults and children conquer anxiety and depression”
“I help women get clients with social media marketing”
“I am a divorce coach that supports woman emotionally whether to leave or stay in a marriage.”
“I take the humble bead and bit of wire and create something to help a person sparkle and feel great”
Yay! I instantly got these and understood what these people did. And I especially loved the last one. It completely stood out from the crowd for me.
Have a think how you explain your business. There are times when you can be super creative and imaginative and there are other times when you need to short, concise and to the point. You need to be prepared for both.
Whatever you do, stop expecting others to do the groundwork to decipher what you do. You need to be ready to grasp every opportunity and respond in the right manner. There will be plenty of other people doing what you do who will oblige and you will lose business to them. Harsh but true!
Here is a basic list of marketing mediums, both free and paid, that could be useful to your small business. Before you start on any marketing think carefully which are best for your business and which are going to get your marketing message in front of your ideal customers. Don’t just blindly follow the crowd and do something because others are doing it. They may just be throwing their money down the drain or may have a different ideal customer to you.
Free marketing ideas
I want to put a disclaimer here. Whilst I have said the list below is ‘free’ please remember that there is still a cost element due to the amount of time you will take to implement your marketing through these channels.
Most online directories offer a free listing. Research the better ones and get yourself listed
Set up a free blog and post new articles frequently to build up a following of people who may become your future customers
These can be sent by email to your subscribers or posted out to potential customers, again dependent on your business and your ideal customer.
There are so many social media channels to choose from. Start off setting up pages on just a couple of social media sites until you are comfortable with them and don’t become overwhelmed
Ask people to refer customers to you. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
Offer to do a free talk at local events to raise awareness of what you can do for potential clients
Send your details to as many publications as you can think of. You never know who may give you some free publicity
If you have a phone contract and you don’t use all your minutes, take some time to call prospective customers to introduce yourself (don’t cold call though – a big no-no!! You must have a connection with them first and permission to speak)
Attend networking events and turn up everywhere that your target audience hangs out. Remember to take your business cards.
Create an E-book that is branded with your company details. Offer as a free book to draw attention to your business.
Carry out surveys online or in person to find out information about customer buying habits whilst raising awareness of your brand at the same time.
Run a contest or competition where the winner can get a free product or service or a discount on a purchase. Raise awareness of your brand with all entrants.
Direct mail marketing
If done correctly, direct mail can still be a lucrative way of gaining new customers.
Paid for marketing ideas
Print can still work for many businesses and print tends to get read more in-depth than online ads.
Pay per Click/Advertising on complementary websites, social media adverts etc. all form part of online advertising
These can be professionally designed and printed or created from home. Always do a test run on just a few before printing hundreds.
Don’t leave home without them! You never know when, or who, you are going to meet so have them ready to hand out.
Both print and online. You can pay for a banner ad in directories that put your business at the top of the listings ahead of the free ads.
From high-end trade events to setting up a stall at your local village fete.
A website is essential for any business these days. From a low cost ‘free template’ site to a professionally built site, just make sure your site will be able to grow and be changed in line with your business in the future.
This can be expensive but if your business requires it, hiring a professional PR company can get great results and reduce the need for other forms of advertising.
Do you have products that would suit being put into a catalogue? Catalogues can be digital or printed and then mailed to your prospective and existing customers.
Pens, mugs, bags and notepads. In fact, just about anything can be printed on.
Get others to do the marketing for you and then pay them a small fee for each sale they make. There are many affiliate sites online that can help you get set up.
This can be from a single one-off event to sponsoring a team or organisation long term.
Think of where you might get seen by your ideal client. From car stickers to roadside signage to billboards at sporting grounds or on buildings, start to take note of the different signage out there and where yours might fit in.
So there are just a few small business marketing ideas to get you thinking. If you have any to add, pop them in the comments box below.
I was given a challenge recently by my own mentor to do a series of Facebook Live videos to help build my profile. Now, I have done many of these in the past so this didn’t bother me at all but I had forgotten a few simple tricks that can make the process less daunting and far more successful.
And I’m going to share them here with you.
Top Tips How To Do A Successful Facebook Live
PREPARE YOUR CONTENT
Don’t just start recording without at least a few minutes of thought.
What’s your subject going to be about?
Yes, that’s obvious, I hear you say but so many go off track and totally forget what they were supposed to be talking about when caught up in the live moment.
What’s your objective?
Do you want to raise your visibility or gain more subscribers to your mailing list? Or are you using this as a lead into a paid product? Decide this in advance as it will determine your call to action at the end of your Facebook Live recording.
Create your content
Write into and what you are going to be talking about
Create a catchy heading to give to the Facebook Live video
Prepare some bullet points for the main content. You need to be looking at the camera so don’t read off a full script. Just a few simple bullet points will keep you on track.
Jot down a short, simple and a call to action. Tell viewers what you want them to do next. Do you want them to call you, email you, visit your website or something else?
GAIN PRIOR INTEREST
Post in advance and let followers know what date and time you are going live and what the subject is going to be.
Encourage them to be there live for a special offer (if you have one)
Microphone turned on
Wi-Fi connected (if live)
Battery fully charged on recording equipment or connected to a power source
Lighting correct. Use natural daylight if possible but beware of shadows across your face or sunlight in your eyes. Buy an anglepoise light with a daylight bulb if you are in a dimly lit room.
Non-distracting background. Check your background. Keep it simple and uncluttered. You don’t want people being distracted by what’s going on behind you and a busy or messy background will do just that.
Phone turned off. Don’t forget to turn off the sound on your landline if that is in earshot. (Remember to turn it back on again after!)
Computer notifications turned off
Children and animals out of earshot
Lift your chin and look up to the camera. If you have the camera too low and look down to it viewers will be staring up your nose – not the best view!
Check your appearance. Do your clothes look ok and your teeth clean. You don’t want spinach from your lunch causing more conversation than what you are talking about. Double check hair and makeup.
Have your bullet point prompts near to hand
Keep pen and paper near to hand (make notes of any follow-ups to questions required)
Have a flash card with your contact details (useful to hold up at the end of the video for people to know how to contact you.
A glass of water (useful if throat gets dry or for coughing fits)
Smile – and have fun!
Give housekeeping tips.
Do you want people to ask questions as you go along, or do you want them to wait until you have finished? Tell people watching on replay to post their comments and use the like/love buttons.
Ask for interaction.
Tell people constantly to give you a thumbs up or a heart as you go along. Ask them to give a thumbs up if they understand what you are talking about. Ask them to give you a heart if they love what you are saying.
Be responsive to messages.
Make sure you answer messages. Thank people if they leave a message. Respond quickly if viewers ask questions.
Smile and have fun. People want to see the real you. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all go to plan. Viewers will see that you are human after all and will be able to relate to you so much better.
Keep checking in
Go back and check for any messages. Go back over the next couple of days and check if any new comments or messages have come in. Respond to these.
Share your video
Share your Facebook Live video using the specific link. All you need to do is right click on the video once it is finished and, on your page, and copy the URL. Take this link and share in your blog and newsletters. Get your message out to as many other people as you can.
To get your very own checklist for doing a successful Facebook Live video, visit the freebies section