If you have ever worked in any sort of retail position, you have probably heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” And if you have ever worked retail, you know the incorrectness of that statement. However, whatever business you are in, there is no denying that your customers are the most important part of your business; and no business can survive without customers. That is why it is so important to treat your customers well. Listen to them, give them what they need, serve them, and most importantly, respect them. Part of showing respect as a business comes with transparency.
There has been a shift in the kind of relationship that businesses share with their customers. It is now expected of a business to be open and public with their customers, as well as easy to reach. One of the biggest reasons for this shift is social media. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have hundreds of millions of users, each of whom is looking for ways to connect with people that they would not normally be able to contact. This extends to business, and many companies have millions of followers on Twitter, or fans on Facebook.
The knock on effect of such direct channels of communication is that it is a lot easier for people to contact companies with certain complaints, questions, and comments; and they do. More and more people are turning to social media to voice their opinion, shunning traditional customer service channels, which means that any criticism is suddenly very public. No company is immune from such public criticism, no matter how good their product, but there is a clear difference in the way that companies respond to such problems.
Responding with Transparency
Every company receives criticism on social media, it is part of what makes the internet such a blessing and a curse. When this happens, it can be tempting for the company in question to simply ignore the offending tweet or post and hope that it will go away, but this is the biggest mistake that one could make. The best way to address such problems is to deal with them immediately. Be honest and open, apologize for bad experiences, and most importantly, do whatever you can to help fix the problem.
Bad Publicity Spreads, But so Does Good
Negative tweets have the tendency to go viral very fast, but on the plus side, so to positive tweets. Social media can be one of the best tools available for generating good publicity, and the best part about it is that it is absolutely free. Companies with good presences on social media, who make an effort to respond to their customers online, soon garner positive reputations, and these are the sorts of things that spread fast online. Customers are not fools, and they know what they want. If you try to deceive them or ignore them online, it does not take much for them to turn it into a PR disaster for your company. So when it comes to communicating with your customers, transparency is the only policy.
About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. He has received many accolades for his work in teaching alternative dispute resolution and small business consultation.