Getting Bad Reviews? Try Improving Your Phone Service

January 29, 2013

45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviews

Online Reviews Survey

On this blog, we’ve talked about how you can respond to a negative review. You see: as online reputation management champions, we want you to shine on the Internet. We want you to not suffer from the potential impact that bad reviews have on your business. We want you to look better and be better, to get raves instead of rants and five-star ratings instead of single-star embarrassments. 

(Check out: “6 Best Practices for Managing Online Reviews”)

And today we’re going to share with you another great tip.

Recently we came across a terrific blog entry by On Hold (you guessed it: an on-hold telephone music and messages company). Entitled “Don’t Let Bad Phone Service Hurt Your Online Reputation,” the post brought to light something that many business owners probably don’t pay enough attention to: their phone service.

“I’ve seen small business owners tearing their hair out over a bad review,” said Bryant Wilson, CEO of On Hold. “But they should be focusing on the level of service that’s causing these reviews.”

One aspect of this service is the way your business’ staff members answer customers’ phone calls. Are they being perfectly helpful and at all times courteous? Or are they giving off a negative vibe that reinforces a customer’s negative opinion about you?

(Check out: “5 Fantastic Offline Tips for Generating Positive Online Reviews”)

According to Wilson, a good phone service is necessary for a positive customer experience. After all, in cases where customers need to ask questions or have problems, they are likely to contact a company by phone.

Wilson said: “If I’m already unhappy, a bad phone call just adds fuel to the fire. (And) if I’m already at my computer, Yelp is just a click away.”

He couldn’t be more right. How many times have you, as a customer, felt angry about long on-hold times when you’re trying to contact a company? How many times have you yourself hung up on “customer service representatives” after getting frustrated with the way they just didn’t seem to care? In situations like these – where customer service is anything but – it’s understandable why you would take to online review aggregators like Yelp or TripAdvisor and broadcast your complaint to the world. 

That’s why On Hold is advising business owners to not let the situation get to that point. Have a system in place. Train your people. Teach basic phone skills and set standardized greetings. Come up with catchy on-hold music that makes it impossible for listeners to hang up on you. 

Said Wilson: “Good service can keep that (bad) review from being posted in the first place.”

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