Posted by: jeb1 | June 10, 2011

How to Fix a Customer-Service Flub


Q. My business has enjoyed years of client loyalty, but due to a recent problem with a vendor, hundreds of our products were shipped late, causing us to miss our holiday delivery guarantee. How can I remedy the situation and keep my clients happy?

— Anonymous, N.Y.

A. Customers are funny creatures. Bad, slow or ineffective customer service can take you from hero to zero in a New York minute. It can amass a social-media horde around your brand dedicated to tarnishing your online reputation. This is why it is vital that you take steps to protect your company and its integrity immediately after problems rear their ugly head.

[SByoungscott] Young Entrepreneur CouncilScott Gerber

About the Author

Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, syndicated columnist and author of “Never Get a ‘Real’ Job.” He is the founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, a nonprofit organization that provides young entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, community and educational resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.

Take your case online to control the spin of your detractors. Start by admitting your failures and then ask your community for suggestions of how you could make it up to them via a poll, survey or forum. Let them drive the conversation and tell you what they want, rather than you decide on any-old arbitrary offer. As people suggest comments, respond accordingly, showing your brand is in fact human and down-to-earth. By getting a community involved, you will be effectively taking a negative moment and transforming it into a positive one, all while marketing your creative customer-service efforts to the social media world. With the right amount of work and attention, this sort of tactic might even get the attention of bloggers and local press.

Sure, not everyone will be happy at the end of the day. Several customers will still leave you, and others will become life-long online haters. But with the right amount of community TLC, you may be able to turn a stain on your company into a productive and rewarding marketing moment.

Scroll through the gallery below for more advice on overcoming customer-service gaffes from members of the Young Entrepreneur Council.

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