May 23, 2019 | 12:17 PM

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13.02.2014How To Prevent Social Media Complaints: The Customer-Centric Solution

Be there when the customer needs you.

Micah Solomon, Forbes.com

What’s the best way to make sure your customers never trash you on Yelp, Tripadvisor, or any other review site?

The answer’s simple, of course:

Never make a mistake.

Well, good luck with that one.  I’d say the more realistic way to avoid ever being torched online is more like the following:



Being there.

Be there when the customer needs you.

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Be there when the customer first starts to feel misunderstood–before things get out of hand and onto the social media airwaves

Eliminating the need for nasty social feedback

One of the first secrets in dealing with social media feedback, in other words, is to reduce the need for it by making sure your customers know how–as directly as possible–to reach you,

Customers needs every possible opportunity to tell you to your face (or on the phone, or to your direct email inbox) how they’re feeling. And they need to be able to see that you care, are listening, will consider their opinion.

Make sure they have these opportunities to reach you, and your customers won’t –by and large–take their gripes and furies to Yelp for the world to see.  (Or if they do, they’ll do it in a more moderated, considered–and considerate–way.)

The approach that works — for surgeons and for food truckers

This, of course, is only a general rule. It doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee of perfect results. But it does, by and large work — whether you’re a surgeon or operate a food truck.

Sure, doing the surgery right is, at least to my mind, much more important. Yet studies show that malpractice charges can be more reliably tracked back to doctors acting schmucky than to doctors whose medical skills are sucky.

The parable of the unzipped fly

All of this is what I’ve luridly termed “the parable of the unzipped fly”:

Think about it this way:

If your friend saw you had your fly undone, or spinach between your front teeth, would he tweet about it?

Of course not. He’d quietly tell you. (And if nobody tells you all day when you’re fly’s unzipped, it’s proof positive that you have no friends!)

Use the same principle to your advantage here. Why should customers address issues to you indirectly via Twitter or their blogs when they can use email, the phone, or a feedback form on your website and know that it will be answered—immediately? (Have ‘‘chime in’’ forms everywhere; it’s like building escape valves for steam into your machinery.)

With their round-the-clock access to the ‘‘airwaves,’’ make sure that the first impulse of customers is to reach you—day or night.

And when they do, listen. And make sure they know you’re listening.

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