How I got businesses to refund thousands of dollars and take responsibility
We learned a long time ago that one unhappy client, regardless of whether or not they are in the right or wrong, can make life miserable for you if they decide to go social. “Going social” is like going ballistic but on social media. Same thing for a disgruntled employee. So, we work hard to do the right thing, keep people happy, and end things with grace rather than disgrace.
So, it surprises me when I encounter companies and organizations that haven’t gotten this message by now.
I’ve gotten into this habit of rating and reviewing businesses on Google Maps and have found that social media savvy businesses monitor, respond, and take action and responsibility when I give a legitimately negative review. In one case, I received a $5,000 refund that only would have happened because I went social. Otherwise, they would have held onto my money. In another case, I received free replacement products. In all of these situations, the companies I was dealing with should have done the right thing in the first place, but they didn’t. In all of these situations, they initially tried to resist making things right when I brought issues to their attention.
It was only went I went ballistic on social media and gave them an honestly unfavorable review that I got their attention and they made things right.
Advice for business owners and representatives: Do right by your customer. Customers may not always be right, but you have to treat them with respect and err on the side of generosity and forgiveness because if you don’t, you will pay a far steeper price. There is a thing called reputation management. Don’t wait for a problem to start dealing with your online reputation. Be sure to get some legitimate, positive, ratings and reviews on Google and Yelp from legitimate power reviewers before you get that first negative one. If all you have are negative reviews and no positive ones, it will be difficult to tips the scale back in your favor. Be proactive about owning the home page of Google.
Advice for consumers: Strive to be patient and understanding, it’s tough running a business, managing employees and cash flow, dealing with customers, etc., But, when you get mistreated or disrespected by a company, go social. Be honest, don’t abuse the system, don’t try to take advantage of anybody, but stand your ground and honestly air your grievance if you are not getting anywhere in person or by phone or email with the company. Also, choose the right social tool. Yelp is not always the most appropriate place to complain. Some of these online complaint boards don’t allow you to take back or rescind your comments, which would be important if the company you are dealing with comes around and does the right thing. So, ensure that you are using a tool that gives you leverage and allows you to edit your review after they have remediated the situation.