There was a time in my business life prior to me becoming this polished business woman I am today, cough where I would rant about my customers or clients on social media. However, since then I have learned you not only lose more business by doing this, you’re stepping out of character for no real reason. Yes, I get on your website it shows your processing and shipping time, but people continuously email you about where their order is. Or you have clients who sign service agreements, but several years later want all the raw images from their wedding when said contract said they only get 100 for the amount they agreed to. I have been on all three sides of this spectrum from being the customer to product business and a service based company. In the last several months, I have cringed and vowed not to support small business owners who have done these things. Let me also note when I see these things done I send a private message or email as a consulting stating why this is bad for business. Today, I want you to learn how to turn your rants about customers into educational moments for you and them.
Step Away From The Keyboard
In recent months, I have seen an influx of private messages shared in Facebook groups where small business owners will rant regarding said customer or client. Nothing is private this day and age first off. For example, one time in a group someone posted about a mother of a bride being a nightmare to work with and they proceeded to show all the text messages between them. The small business owner thought it was a “safe place” to vent about the said person and problem, but the MOB sister was in the group too. Yes, there are nightmare clients and customers out there, I am not going to make it seem like everyone is the perfect person. However, you hopping on social media to rant about them is not the behavior of a professional small business owner. I understand the customer has made you upset, and you want to go all Kanye West caps lock regarding the situation on social media, but how is this truly serving you in the long run. Nine times out of ten it will hurt you more than anything else because your target audience follows you on these platforms. Each one of them will see this and think is this someone I want to shop or utilize their services. At the moment, you will be able to get your frustration off your chest, but at what cost to your small business.
What’s The Actual Problem
When I started my online boutique one of the first things I did was establish a canned email responses system to help cut back on time spent answering the same emails over and over. We as small business owners tend to get frustrated at our target audience because they do not read or they are not comprehending what they are reading. When someone emails you where their order is you can simply reply with your canned responses.
Hey (insert customer name),
Thank you for reaching out to us regarding your order (insert order number or date) that was placed. All orders take 2-3 days to process if they are in stock and not a custom order. All custom orders take 5-7 days to process. Your shipping and processing time are two diferent aspects. Depending on the shipping option you selected it can take 2 business days for next day or up to 14 days for free ground shipping. Truly hope this answers all your questions regarding your order placed. Want to thank you for supporting my small business.
We as a society have a huge communication problem and want to take it out on the next person versus stopping for a moment to analyze the situation. One thing, I do with new clients is go over all aspects of the contract they are signing giving them a proper breakdown, so they not only know but have the understanding to what they are agreeing to. For example, if you’re a website designer you should outline how many revisions clients get per round of website development, who owns the rights to the website after its complete, edits that clients might want to make further down the road and more. If possible have these conversation document to show the client later. You can never over communicate when it comes to your needs and delivering to the client.
Solving The Problem Through Education Not Twitter Fingers
I always say informed buyers are the best buyers to have. My ideal consulting client would know the areas they truly wanted to focus on when it came to their business. Said client would come to every meeting informed from doing their monthly homework and executing the things they need to do to achieve their goals. How do I land informed clients time and time again, by writing a blog post like this or educating them how to be their best in business. We do not take the time to educate our customers or clients, and they get frustrated when they act a certain way. First, let me say I am not relating anyone to an animal but using it, for example, the only purpose. When you bring a new puppy home it does not know it cannot pee in the house; it does not know that it cannot jump on the bed, it does not know to sit at your command and so on. You have to teach the pup how to act appropriately for your sanity and benefit. If you’re a service based business, there are a couple of great things you can do to help keep your sanity in business. One of those things happens to be creating free video content or guides for new clients. With these guides or video content, you can have multiple segments that educate your audience when it comes to XYZ. Trust me; they will appreciate this information, and it’s something they will remember and share how amazing you are with others. The same thing goes with product based businesses create video content regarding your items showing your users the fit, how to style, or how to use your item properly. When a client is a launching a jewelry based company, I always tell them create a care card to go with the order.
Ranting on social media about your target audience is never the answer, however spending the time to educate them to make informed discussions helps your relationship with them last forever.