The Customer Might Be King But He’s Not a Benevolent One: Lessons in ORM
It is a well known marketing saying – The customer is king, the customer is always right.
Yes, they might be king but they are not always kind. If you have had the experience of reading or replying to comments and messages on a brand’s page, you know what we are talking about. Without an Online Reputation Management (ORM) plan, things can get truly complicated…
The hate really does come alive in that DM section sometimes, doesn’t it?
One of the biggest reasons customers are losing it on small businesses on social media is the delay in deliveries. Let’s correct that. It is not so much delay in deliveries but just slightly longer durations to deliver as compared to Amazon. The customer cannot be blamed. After experiencing super fast deliveries from giants like Amazon, customers have become conditioned to expect the same from all businesses. So while the customer cannot be blamed, they can definitely be educated.
As digital customers, here are a few things we can keep in mind before spewing hate on a small business trying to make it happen:
- Not every brand is Amazon. A lot of businesses you shop with are very small businesses who do not have the resources to deploy Amazon-level delivery mechanisms. Trust us, they will get there but a little support along the way would not hurt.
- Stop screaming fraud. When you go on an angry spree of commenting “fraud” on brand posts on social media, you are not doing anybody any favours. A few minutes to reply to your message does not make the company fraud. Check the website of the company before you make a purchase, ensure they are trustworthy, and even write a message to them to check.
- It’s humans behind the screens. Just like you, there is a human being on the other side of the phone replying to your messages. A little kindness never hurt, right? Abusing, screaming, and spamming are not helping. There are real challenges with running a business in the post-pandemic world. Let’s help each other out.
While we can try and educate customers on the challenges of running a small business in today’s world, there are ways you can deal with the pesky ones.
- Take the conversation offline. This should be a key part of the ORM strategy. Just like new brands, there are a ton of new digital customers. Not all of them understand how things work and always assume the worst. Pick up the phone and have a real conversation with them. Calmly explain the situation and more often than not, they understand. It is mostly these customers that also become your biggest advocates.
- Establish trust on the website. Make signs of credibility apparent on the website while customers are placing their orders. They should feel safe and not suspicious when they shop with you.
- Be clear on dispatch and delivery times. Dispatching orders is in the brand’s hands so ensure you keep this to a minimum and communicate it clearly. Order delivery depends on a huge number of factors and this is usually where the trouble beings. Be open and transparent in giving customers a date range on when their orders will be delivered.
- Maintain a constant thread of communication with customers. Inform them about the whereabouts of their order at every stage so they don’t have to reach out to you through hateful comments enquiring where their money went. Make this communication simple, yet fun and true to the brand.
If you run a small business, make an Online Reputation Management (ORM) plan.
Put down standard responses and SOPs on how customer enquiries and complaints will be managed. A tarnished image online can really hurt the brand despite products/services being brilliant. The most successful form of marketing remains word-of-mouth marketing and brands must have a well-laid out plan to execute this.
At Beyond The Panorama, we work with small businesses to develop their digital brand presence and a big part of that is maintaining their online reputation. If you are looking for a little bit of help to organize this function of your business, we would love to have a conversation and get it set up! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org on our social media channels.