Not responding to a problem at all can do just as much harm as responding badly. Ignoring a customer on the Internet is the same as ignoring a customer who’s walked into a brick and mortar store.
Have you ever walked into a store with a problem or a question and got put off by salespeople? How did you feel? Where on your list of “places I like to shop” is that store now? Don’t do this to your customers.
If you leave a complaint unresolved, it will undoubtedly be followed up with another complaint from someone else searching for a solution to another problem. Many times customers with a problem will first search on the Internet to see if they can find a solution themselves before contacting you. When they do this, they will come across reports from other people who’ve written about their problems, and then they will add to it.
Think about it for a moment. Have you ever had a problem with a product and gone looking for a resolution only to find multiple forum threads saying things like “Yeah, I’ve got that problem too! How did you fix it?” There’s nothing more frustrating and disheartening than reading through a few of those threads only to get to the end and see that the problem was never resolved.
Even if you can’t completely fix whatever someone might be complaining about, making some sort of response that apologizes and proves that your are listening to customers will have a big effect with that Internet audience that is always watching.
Don’t Post Fake Reviews Or Testimonials
Posting false reviews, for yourself or for competitors, is always a bad idea. First, it is completely unethical. Second, you will get caught, either by clients, competitors or review site managers. And third, the repercussions will have a far worse effect than any small benefit you might gain from the fake reviews.
There are several risks you take when engaging in this practice:
Credibility – Your credibility will be completely ruined when (not if) customers see that you’ve been putting out false reviews. People can tell the difference between a real review and a fake one. In reality, if you think your customers are this gullible, you probably have far worse business problems you should address.
Review Site Bans – Review sites can be a great way to drum up fresh traffic if there are good reviews there. By posting fake reviews you run the risk of not just having them removed, but getting your company banned and completely cut off from these great traffic and lead generation sites.
Legal Consequences – Paying or compensating someone for endorsements in any way can also land you in legal trouble. The practice is expressly forbidden by the Federal Trade Commission. Creating false reviews about competitors can also land you in court on the wrong end of a law suit.
The benefits simply do not outweigh the high costs of falsifying reviews or testimonials. If you feel like more reviews would do you some good, ask your customers to share their thoughts. You’d be surprised how many people will do so if asked. Guide your customers to the sites where you’d like to get a little more exposure through links on your website, in newsletters, or in order confirmation emails.
We’ll continue with more critical mistakes you should avoid in our next post. Watch for it!