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Social Media – the Virtual Suggestion Box


Suggestions Wanted

Have you ever wished that you could know what your customers thought about your shop? And then be able to use that information to guide you in making smart business decisions for your shop? With the advent of the Internet and social media, you don’t need to be psychic to get this critical information. By monitoring social media, you can learn what your customers are saying about your business - all without having to pay for a survey or focus group. Think of it as the virtual suggestion box.

Never before have businesses had the opportunity for the instant feedback that social media provides. From posts on Facebook to tweets on Twitter, customers have the opportunity to engage in real time with companies. How you react can make or break your business. Read on to learn how to effectively monitor and respond to feedback on social media.

Why Monitor Social Media

Your customers are going to post reviews and feedback to social media; it just makes sense to know what’s being said about your shop. Armed with this information you’ll be able to.

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Respond to complaints in a timely manner before the issue escalates.

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Build your online image and reputation by showing you care what your customers are saying about your shop.


Get instant feedback that can help you improve your shop.


Monitoring social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn and review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Google My Business is just part of doing business in our digital world. Ready to get started?


Assign a Social Media Community Manager

Now that you have decided to get serious about monitoring social media sites, it’s best to assign one person to the task – a social media community manager. Don’t appoint just anyone to the job. You want to give this important assignment to someone who understands your shop and its culture, and understands basic customer service principles. This person will also speak on behalf of your shop, so the job needs to go to the person who you trust implicitly to use good judgement in dealing with customers. Choose wisely!


Staying Alert

At this point, you’re probably worried that keeping tabs on social media is a full-time job. Relax -- we know that whoever you give this job to has other important roles to fulfill and can’t spend all day combing the Internet for references to your shop. Through the magic of Google Alerts, it is possible to know when your shop is mentioned without spending hours online.

Google Alerts will notify you via email when any of the keywords or phrases you identify are mentioned online. Setting up an alert is easy. Start by entering the words or phrases you want to monitor. Common words to audit are your shop’s name, services you offer or products you sell. Settings let you specify things like what type of sources you want monitored and how often alerts are sent.


Next Steps

Once the alert is set, an email will be sent when any of the keywords or phrases you identified are mentioned. The social media community manager checks out the feedback or review and determines the proper response. What happens next demonstrates the importance of selecting the right person for this job.

How the social media community manager responds to feedback speaks volumes about your shop. Whether the feedback is positive or negative will shape what kind of response is made. Here are some tips for handling both positive and negative comments.


Responding to Positive Feedback

Everyone loves to read positive comments, so it comes as no surprise that it’s easy to respond to this type of feedback.

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Express your gratitude for their kind comment and tell them that you look forward to serving them in the future.

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If the comment was outstanding, ask them if you can use it as a testimonial on your site and in other marketing materials.

Responding to Negative Feedback

First, take a deep breath and relax. While no one likes to read negative comments about their shop, if you’re in business long enough you’re bound to have some negative feedback. How you handle this adverse situation can set the tone for future interactions with not only this customer but others who might be following the interaction.

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Stay positive in your response and avoid being defensive.

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Be timely in your response.

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Assure the customer that you take their concern seriously and offer to discuss the matter further via email, phone or in person – however the customer prefers.

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When you hear from the customer, listen carefully. They may have a valid concern that needs addressing. You want to learn from any missteps so you can apply the lessons learned to improve your shop.

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Finally, make it right. Ask the customer what you can do to make amends. Accommodate the customer if possible or make a counteroffer that satisfies both parties.

Final Thoughts

One thing to keep in mind with feedback on social media is that it’s anecdote-based feedback – this is not a scientific study. However, you can analyze the data for trends. Also understand that dissatisfied customers are more motivated to speak out than happy ones. This could explain why your online reviews skew more negative. Don’t overreact; just continue to monitor for trends that may need addressing.