In many ways the Internet is like the Wild West. Anybody can say or do practically anything they want. That sounds like an incredibly great freedom, until you realize the potential downsides for your business. The Internet gives a platform to every disgruntled customer.
Once upon a time an angry customer could raise their voice and slam the door on the way out. You could try to make amends, but if it didn’t work you could just shrug your shoulders. At worst they might tell their friends, but it would usually die down.
Complaints Go Online
Now those angry customers can go online. They can spread their grievances to anyone who will listen (and even some who won’t). There are countless sites that post user comments, giving voice to the frustrated, whether their complaints are justified or not. Those complaints don’t just disappear, they stick around. And trying to control those complaints is like herding cats. Good luck: You’ll need it. A jilted customer could even take it much farther than an angry comment and post an entire site slamming your business.
Your Own Voice
So how do you respond? The beauty of the freedom all these complainers have online is that you have the same opportunity to speak. It’s a good idea to respond to some of these negative comments and reviews that show up on other sites, though you have to remember that you’re dealing with disgruntled customers who may not ever be assuaged. But in many cases humbly addressing an issue and offering an apology can do wonders.
But perhaps the best thing you can do is counter those complaints with your own site. Your own site doesn’t have to be the Wild West—you can control the conversation. It may not be wise to completely ignore complaints, but you can use your site to fairly address concerns and focus on the positives: emphasize how you resolved complaints and shine some light on rave reviews and happy customers. Above all be honest and transparent.
Having your own website gives you the platform to counter these complaints and the ability to have some control over the conversation. Without a website you’re ceding the conversation to someone else.