Social media gives anyone and everyone a voice and the vast majority aren’t afraid to use theirs, especially when it comes to giving negative feedback on brands. So, what should you do in the event your company receives negative customer feedback on social media? We took to the internet to see what we could find out...
Make it a private matter
Where possible, try and move the disgruntled customer from the public eye into a private conversation. Replying first time round in public can be a good option but anything after that would ideally be sorted in private or offline. Quite often a customer who is unhappy with your company will behave or speak a lot differently when they are not in public and gives them a chance to soften their stance if you can sort their problem out efficiently.
Listen to the customer
It can be all too easy to go straight onto the defensive when someone is criticising your product or service, especially when it is something that is personal to you. However, receiving negative feedback is one of the biggest opportunities your customers can give you. If you can put your pride to one side, open your ears and take in the criticism then you have a great chance at improving your product and getting yourself ahead of the competition all whilst maintaining customer satisfaction.
Trying to respond to a dissatisfied customer in a timely manner could play a key role in getting them back on side. If you reply to a complaint or feedback efficiently the customer is much more likely to feel valued and, as a result, be a lot more co-operative as you try to fix the problem. On the other hand, if you take a long time to reply or just don’t reply at all, the customer could become even angrier and therefore the situation could spiral out of control. The latter could massively harm your company's reputation which is why it’s important to always respond to customer feedback and complaints unless there is an obvious reason not to. Of course, this is dependent on the size of your company and the industry you are in.
There you have it, a few tips to help you deal with negative customer feedback on social media. If you don’t feel like following our tips, why not take a look at how this Manchester pub dealt with criticism online.
It can’t have escaped your notice that the EU wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes law in the UK on 25 May 2018. This has an impact on all businesses in the UK that process personal data. Personal data is any information that enables an individual to be identified.
Any business with employees processes personal data and therefore needs to be aware of the changes in the law and how this impacts upon how they use, store and retain data.
Businesses also need to consider their wider activities in terms of when and how they handle the personal data of clients, customers and potential customers. However, for employers the key issues to focus on now in terms HR and GDPR are:
Employers need to formally advise all employees (and applicants during the recruitment process) about their personal data process. The notice needs to state what data they hold, why they hold it and what they will use it for.
Where an employer shares employees personal data with a third party supplier, they need to ensure this is made clear to the employee in the Privacy Notice.
An employer needs to have a legal basis for processing personal data, and needs to specifically state what that is in the Privacy Notice.
Record of Processing
All businesses need to consider whether to conduct a data processing audit and record in a formal Record of Processing document how they manage personal data in the business.
Subject Access Request
Individuals have always had the right to request details of the personal data held about them. In future such a request should now be processed for free and must be dealt with within 30 days.
Right to Rectification
Employees can ask for errors in the personal data their employer holds about them to be corrected.
Right to be Forgotten
Subject to certain limitations, individuals can ask for a personal data record to be removed. The employer needs to be able to evidence that the data has been removed.
Information Commissioners Office
It will now be mandatory for the employer to report any data breach to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
A new fee structure and registration process has been introduced by the ICO. However businesses that that only use personal data for staff administration are exempt from this.
Even if your business does not need to register with the ICO you still need to comply with the other data protection obligations.
If you have any questions or need further advice on getting GDPR ready please contact Opsium.
This month we’ve taken a look at the advice offered on Business.com on how to deliver excellent customer service; we’re not going to delve into the nitty gritty for each sector, however there are some fundamental truths that should apply whatever your line of business.
Body language can speak volumes. If your business is conducted face to face then it is vital that you and your employees don’t inadvertently put customers off. The three main areas to focus on are:
Seems like an obvious one, but not engaging in eye contact will make your customer feel ill at ease and may even lead them to believe you’re deceiving them or have a lack of respect.
It’s a dead giveaway. If you want your customers to feel valued then an approachable, open and interested posture is a must, so no crossed arms or slumped shoulders!
Not all gestures are bad, however anything that could be interpreted as insulting or aggressive will never be a good thing. Sudden, exaggerated or large movements can be unnerving and we’d hope that finger wagging and shaking fists would never form part of your customer dialogue!
Are you experienced?
We’re not suggesting you turn your place of work into the equivalent of Disneyland, but your customer’s experience with your service will outweigh the price and sometimes even quality of the product or service.
Your employees are your brand ambassadors; if you don’t train them well and treat them right then the chances are they won’t deliver the quality of service and overall experience you want to provide.
Remember that ultimately, the thing that people remember about doing business with you is how you made them feel.
In this highly technological age, having your customer’s details and history available at all touch points should be a given; if they are repeatedly asked for information or have to explain their situation more than once then this is bound to lead to your customer feeling unimportant and frustrated. A good customer relationship management (CRM) platform can solve this issue, but only if all staff know how to access and use the information provided.
Some would say that the true indication of customer service is how a company deals with its complaints. As certified serial complainers who abhor bad service, we can confirm that you can win round a disgruntled customer with a timely, appropriate and positive response.
Employer: ‘I’ve told my employee they can’t come back to work, what do I do now?’
Employment law adviser: *Sigh*
The first piece of advice to our reader is…don’t do this! Always take advice before you say anything to an employee that even vaguely suggests they can’t continue working for your business.
In the case of Cosmeceuticals Ltd v Parkin the Employment Appeal Tribunal determined that the statutory definition of the Effective Date of Dismissal is the date that a summary dismissal is communicated to the employee, even where notice ought to have applied and wasn’t given. And in the light of the recent ruling that tribunal fees were unlawful, it’s even more important to follow correct procedures.
In this particular case the employer had concerns over Ms Parkin’s capability in her role. During an informal meeting the employer told her that she would not be able to return to the role she held and made poor attempts to discuss alternative employment for her. She was later put on garden leave and the employer wrote to her, 28 days after the initial meeting, to confirm her dismissal giving notice of four weeks from the date of the letter.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the written dismissal letter giving notice was not the event that terminated the contract. The words spoken by the employer in the first meeting were sufficient to terminate the contract of employment summarily and without due notice. The fact that the employer later attempted to cover up his error by then following due process was irrelevant and the Effective Date of Dismissal occurred on the date of the first discussion.
This concerns advisers for a number of reasons:
This case serves as a sound reminder that employers are best advised to take careful advice on a case by case basis before challenging a problem employee. Once the wrong thing has been said there is nothing your advisers can do to change this. A dismissal can be judged to have taken effect from verbal conversations and attempts to remedy the situation may not work. Timing and approach is everything when it comes to avoiding legal disputes.
On the 25th May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will replace the current Data Protection directive. Employers must adhere to these changes and be ready, otherwise they could face fines which, if imposed, could be up to 20 million Euros or 4% of company worldwide annual turnover.
Dot the i's and cross the t's
Employers need to know how the regulations will affect their organisation and are encouraged to put a checklist in place. Key people within businesses need to be made aware of how the law is changing; this article gives a brief summary of some of the changes that will be introduced.
Employers have a requirement to document all personal data held within the company, where it came from and with whom it’s shared.
Privacy notices must be implemented when collecting personal data, explaining the lawful basis for processing it, the period it will be retained for and details on the individual’s rights to complain.
Individuals will also have the right to be informed, the right to access, rectify and ask for erasure of personal data.
No longer will employers be able to charge individuals for Subject Access Requests and requests for information will have to be fulfilled within 1 month.
Under the GDPR individual rights will be reformed depending on the lawful basis for processing their personal data. There are 6 lawful bases and the employer needs to ensure:
Emphasis has been put on consent as individuals must have informed choice and control. The changes also extend to children, giving them special protection, and privacy policies must be clear and easy for them to understand.
Employers must also be aware of their requirements; if breaches occur they’ll be required to report this to the ICO and to the individual(s) concerned.
When does a Data Protection Officer (DPO) need to be appointed under the GDPR?
Under the GDPR, you must appoint a DPO if you:
You may appoint a single data protection officer to act for a group of companies or for a group of public authorities, taking into account their structure and size.
Any organisation is able to appoint a DPO. Regardless of whether the GDPR obliges you to appoint a DPO, you must ensure that your organisation has sufficient staff and skills to discharge your obligations under the GDPR.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Although this may seem like a minefield, it cannot be ignored. It’s imperative that employers take action by understanding and preparing for the GDPR requirements and must update all their policies and procedures to reflect the changes and ensure they’re compliant before May.
Opsium will provide further advice to employers in the coming months but if you have any questions now, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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