Online Customer Service. Best practices & common mistakes

Online Customer Service. Best practices & common mistakes

You have prepared a fanpage that provides the most important information about your business. This is just the beginning of your online activities! Wherever it is possible to post an opinion and comment... there will be people willing to use this function quickly. Do you know the best way to react in such a situation?

Relax - we will prepare you for such situations!

Let's start with the basics.

At the very beginning: consider the style of your communication with clients. You can save yourself a lot of dilemmas and problems later! Especially if your co-workers (salon staff) also get access to the social media channels of your salon. The point is that regardless of whether on a given day questions and comments from customers are answered by (for example) Joanne or Kate, the company's image and the language used by it remain consistent. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you want to refer to your potential clients using "you" or "Mrs./Mr."?
  • Do you want salon employees to be perceived as cool professionals or rather “girls next door” with a sense ofhumour?
  • What (reliable) sources of knowledge will you reach for in case of "difficult questions" from clients? Can you provide such support now? (e.g. take the telephone number of a service technician, lamp supplier, cosmetics supplier, etc.)

The established rules should be known to everyone who speaks on behalf of the tanning salon. When you know how you want to act, you gain confidence and save time on making lots of small, everyday decisions!

Be available

Almost 90% of messages posted by clients in social media... are ignored by the companies that these messages concern. Of course, this is not a sign of ill will - most often it is a lack of proper habits. Nevertheless…

Imagine that almost 90% of what you say is ignored by a person you are talking to. Horribly frustrating! Don't let your customers feel so frustrated.

What's worth doing? Regularly (e.g. on selected days of the week) monitor online places related to your salon (Google My Business, comments and reviews sections on the fanpage, inbox on Messenger). It is also worth checking local Facebook groups, where local businesses are often discussed. Show that you are interested in the feelings of your customers!

Appreciate the support

The truth is cruel: statistically, a satisfied client shares their positive impression with only 8 people. Dissatisfied - they will make sure that their criticism reaches... as many as 22 people. That is why you should appreciate people who recommend or praise your services on their own accord! Don't settle for a modest 'like' or a short 'thank you'. Elaborate, ask about something. When they come back to your salon - take the opportunity to thank them or offer them something extra. Ambassadors of your salon are real treasures. Make them feel like that and there will be more and more of them!

Don't be afraid of criticism

Number 1 fear of many salon owners about creating their online salon profile? "Then everyone will be able to slander me easily - especially the competition!" Sure, there's always the risk - people are different. Remember, however, that even if you block the possibility of commenting on posts or posting reviews on your Facebook profile... you still have no influence on what opinions about the salon are posted elsewhere on the web. By shunning malicious criticism - you are also shunning constructive criticism that has the potential to develop your business. You throw the baby out with the bathwater!

So, if you come across an opinion that is unfavourable to our salon, approach the matter calmly, step by step.

1. Take a moment to breathe

Never write back right away while you are still ruled by your emotions. In a conflict situation, our brain needs as much as 20 minutes to establish a connection with its rational part (frontal lobe). Until then, we are ruled by simple instincts - anger, hurt pride, the desire to destroy the "enemy" at any cost or… panic fear. So the famous: fight or flight. Unfortunately, we cannot win with biology! All you have to do is to experience these first, violent emotions as far away from the keyboard as possible. Go for a walk, dance, scrub the bathtub - it doesn't matter. After 20 minutes of being on the move, it will be easier for you to get to step #2!

2. How to deal with criticism?

First of all - thank for the posted opinion. Contrary to appearances, a person openly expressing their dissatisfaction often has a greater potential to become a regular client than the one who "silently" resigns from our services. This person has already spent their time and energy finding us and sharing their thoughts. It means that they are not indifferent to the matter! It is very possible that if they felt heard, they would gladly come back to our salon. It works both ways. Consider which bakery you are more likely to report selling undercooked bread. One from the neighbouring voivodeship (which you are not planning to visit anyway) or the one opposite your house...? Exactly!

3. Clarification of the situation

If there is a chance that the client's critical comments are sincere - be sure to ask for details that will help you understand the situation. If the matter is more complicated, you can move the further conversation to private messages. In such a situation, however, remember that bystanders will see the interrupted conversation. They may feel that you completely withdrew from the conversation. So it is worth adding a comment that the matter is already being clarified with the person concerned (and - why it is happening elsewhere). When we manage to reach an agreement - it is also worth noting this fact. Ideally, the person who previously posted the unfavourable opinion will post such a comment. Such things happen! Don't be afraid of the words "I'm sorry". You don't have to be infallible and perfect! Every company has bad days, equipment failures or makes mistakes. What is important is what happens afterwards.

4. How to react to hate comments?

What if the opinion posted is completely untrue? Or you have reasonable suspicions that it is part of your competitors' strategy? Also in this case - deleting messages is the last resort. It will probably only cause an avalanche of further comments (including allegations of censorship). What to do? You can ask for more detailed information (date, time of the incident) and ask if the matter was reported to a member of staff on a regular basis. In the case of an imaginary situation, your questions will probably remain unanswered. What if the objection is more general, such as "I don't like solariums and yours too" (real life example!)? All that's left is a short and polite answer. Don't waste your time and nerves for long, pointless discussions. Good manners and calmness will be your secret weapon against the hater. This way, you will gain the appreciation of all potential clients who will notice your conversation.

Effective communication in a nutshell:

  • Determine in advance how you want to be perceived by clients - and stick to it!
  • Systematically browse the sites related to the salon on the Internet and do not leave clients unanswered.
  • Appreciate ambassadors of your brand
  • Don't lose your head when you are criticised - get the best out of it!

Best of luck!

Read the entire series of articles about a solarium on the web: