DEALING WITH FEEDBACK BUSINESSES

Feedback on blackboard.Overview
There can be no doubt that positive communication with customers can be hugely beneficial to any business. Brightideas365 offers a number of channels of communication designed to help. Some organisations that run shops and stalls on Brightideas365 will have PR departments and consultants. For those that don’t, here are a few tips on how to get the most out of customer interaction, both on Brightideas365.com and the wider internet.

Customer Enquiries and Questions
There is a facility on our online shops and stalls for visitors to make an enquiry regarding your products or services. Responding to these quickly can make the difference between a sale (and future sales), and the customer finding an alternative, so it is worth monitoring these carefully. Needless to say, polite, and authoritative replies tend to lead to sales. Having said this, no-one knows everything, so a holding reply saying, ‘Thank you for your inquiry, we are looking into this now and will get back to you shortly’ can stop the customer looking elsewhere (as long is you do get back to them asap).

Customer Reviews – Positive
Positive reviews are great, they will be good PR, and this is likely to be reflected in sales. At Brightideas365 we are keen to work with organisations that care about offering good service and doing the best they can for customers and supporters.

So, what suggestions can we offer on what appears to be a perfect outcome? Put simply it is to strengthen that relationship. A simple thank you in response to the review will show that you are listening. It may lead to dialogue that leads to another sale, but even if it doesn’t, you have shown other would-be customers that you care, and this can be as important as the products themselves. It can be hard to find the time to respond this way, but think of it as an investment in PR and marketing.

Customer Reviews – Negative
This is something no-one wants! It can be as a result of a misunderstanding or miscommunication; it may be a genuine mistake; or of course it can be down to poor service or an awkward or unreasonable customer.

How best to deal with negative reviews depends largely on the cause. There are some blanket rules however. Negative reviews should always be responded to, quickly, professionally, and politely, and must never have a confrontational tone (even if you are responding to a review that does). Offer the reviewer the chance to continue the dialogue directly by email, and make it clear you want to help. Don’t argue points, explain your side of the things and allow them to do the same, they may wish to reconsider their review, and you could even gain a customer or more positive review as a result. Either way, a reasonable measured response will reflect well for potential customers.

MISUNDERSTANDINGS
If the complaint is a misunderstanding, the first issue is to clear it up, and make sure that it is not something that was unclear in your description (if it is, correct it immediately). Sometimes when you know a product well, it is easy to forget, that others may not. For example. if you are selling dolls house furniture, make sure every product makes this clear. People have bought sofas for their homes that turned out to by 10cm high, thinking that they had found a real bargain!

GENUINE MISTAKES
A similar approach applies to those inevitable occasions where a mistake is made. How problems are dealt with can turn a complaint into a happy customer if treated correctly. The key once again is to respond quickly, and resolve the issue politely and efficiently. Dissatisfaction grows the longer issues drag on, so speed not just of response but also of resolution (refunds, etc.) is needed to salvage this kind of situation.

However it happened, if it was your fault, take ownership of it, apologise, offer a refund if needed. Everyone makes mistakes and if you handle it well, you might find you have a future customer that trusts you going forward. Trying to bluff it out might work, but it’s poor practice, and unlikely to lead to repeat custom.

POOR SERVICE
If, objectively you can see that your standard of service was below par, a similar approach to the above is appropriate. Take ownership of the situation, apologise, refund as appropriate, but most importantly put measures in place to improve the service offered. Persistently poor reviews will not only impact on the reputation of your business, but also reflect on ourselves and other vendors, so stalls that consistently receive bad reviews will be removed from Brightideas365. Please note: We can access all reviews, whether deleted or not, deleting poor reviews could also lead to removal of a vendor.

If you feel that your businesses is being unfairly targeted by unjustifiably bad reviews guidance is given below in ‘False Reviews’.

AWKWARD CUSTOMERS
Whilst the vast majority of people are polite, patient, and reasonable, every now and again a customer will for whatever reason be less than pleasant. We realise that this happens, so one bad review is not likely to see your stall suspended or removed from our site. Brightideas365 prides itself on being a safespace, free from conflict and abuse, so if you receive abusive feedback at any time, please let us know, so that we may consider action against the subscriber.

False Reviews
Sadly a number of disreputable businesses misuse reviews, both by adding positive reviews to their own site, or negative ones to competitors. This is not a practice that we allow at Brightideas365.com. Any vendor that is found to have placed false reviews on their own or others shops or stalls will have their stall removed permanently. Any individual involved in such businesses will then be ineligible to take a stall at Brightideas365.com. Should you suspect that your stall has been unfairly targeted by negative reviews, or that any vendor is mistreating the review system, then you can let us know by contacting us here.

Follow-ups
With a sale made, and a happy customer, there is a perfect opportunity to promote your business further. This should take the form of a short ‘thank you for your order’ message, complete with ‘in case of problems…’, contact information. It should not be a direct sales message, give time for your product to impress your customer. Then they should be back to you of their own accord. Having said this, if you are sending a physical product, make sure there is a catalogue or price list in the box, this is a low tech, but proven approach.

Editorial Features
Whilst not strictly speaking feedback, a very effective way of establishing your credentials as an expert in your field and promoting your brand is by submitting an editorial feature. This must not be an advertorial, it must be a legitimate feature, but can contain a credit to you and your business, and a link at the bottom of the page. For guidance on the content of features see here. Please note that all features are accepted at the discretion of the editor, and may be edited for publication. You can submit your feature here.

New Items
In much the same ways as features, we are always keen to receive positive news stories. These can relate to a new project, an event, or a positive outcome. Please note that these must not be advertising a product or service. For guidance on the content of news items see here. Please note that news items are accepted at the discretion of the editor, and may be edited for publication. You can submit your news item here.