Steps to Take When You Experience Criticism on Social Media
You made a mistake. It's also possible that you didn't make a mistake but a customer is unhappy anyway. You get to work and discover that a misunderstanding has blown up on social media, and the comments are pouring in. When your insurance agency experiences criticism on social media, what can you do to restore your business reputation?
Take a Deep Breath
This part is important. Whatever is happening online, take a step back and allow yourself to have your gut reaction before you comment or issue an apology. You may feel hurt and angry. After all, this is your job and your insurance agency. However, even if you want to react quickly, it's important to respond with the utmost professionalism to public shaming or bad reviews.
Take It Seriously
What if the complaint is completely ridiculous and exaggerated? You still need to take it seriously, because others will. Even if you know that the complaint is unfounded, those reading the Facebook post or Yelp review don't know that. Now is not the time to take an unplanned vacation until everything is over. You do need to act.
It's tempting to take some time to have a meeting and decide what to do when you're being shamed online. While you can certainly confer with your colleagues, you also need to respond in a timely manner. According to Convince and Convert, if you're on social media, "32% expect a response within 30 minutes," while 42% of customers expect a response within an hour. Make sure that you have someone whose responsibility is to monitor your social media accounts and online reviews to make sure that you catch any complaints quickly.
Listen to the Customer
Your customer may not be right, but you need to listen to what they have to say. Listening to customer complaints can give you valuable insights that can prevent problems in the future. Also, either asking for a phone or in-person conversation or having a dialogue online shows other observers that you're willing to communicate with your customers.
Apologize to the Customer
Even if you're not actually in the wrong, you need to apologize to your customers. You don't always need to apologize for what happened. If the customer is angry about something that is a regular policy and you're not going to change it, you can apologize for the fact that you have not lived up to your customer's expectations. Often, an apology will help resolve the situation. Your customer may even retract their complaint.
You're in the business of solving problems, so appearing to solve your internal problems is important for your insurance marketing. A complaint could lead to a real change in policy or it could simply lead to a conversation with an employee. Let the customer know what you are going to do, and do it in a way so that others can see that you are solving the problem.
To prevent a complaint from appearing online, seek out complaints before they make it to a public forum. According to Infusionsoft, you can be "the first to start the complaint conversation by sending post-purchase emails and surveys to customers." While you may not make every customer perfectly happy, if you can address complaints in a forum that is not public, this will be better for your business.
Prepare for the Worst
You have an insurance marketing plan, but you need a plan for the opposite as well. What happens when there is a complaint? Your insurance business needs to have a contingency plan for bad press, and you should develop that contingency plan before anything bad happens. According to Campaign, we live in a time when many of us communicate within "a medium that demands instant responses and opinions — on subjects we often know little or nothing about — (that) has succeeded in creating a culture of seemingly constant outrage."
In the modern era of insurance marketing, you need to be ready for that outrage. Everyone at your company should know what to do if they are confronted by an angry customer online or in person so that you can be consistent in your insurance marketing and conflict resolution policies.
At American Agents Alliance, we understand the issues that you face as an independent insurance business. Contact us today and see how you can connect with others in the industry and enjoy some of our many membership benefits.