If you've seen even one episode of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares," you know the show has no shortage of drama. Combine a hotheaded pro with folks who might be prone to defensiveness, and you've got a recipe for fireworks.
However, even Ramsay was taken aback by his recent experience at a restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ. Amy and Samy Bouzaglo of Amy's Baking Company were accused of cheating their staff, abusing their customers and creating a hostile environment-and that's before the appetizers were served!
When Ramsay gave them some tough love with the hope of slowing their downward spiral, they reacted badly both on television and online, ending up as an epic viral sensation on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Yelp and more. Believe it or not, there doesn't seem to be much chance that the drama will go away anytime soon. In fact, Amy and Samy may end up back on our screens again with a show of their very own.
No such thing as bad publicity, right?
While Amy may end up with another 15 minutes of fame as a result of her frequent temper tantrums, her behavior serves as a perfect model of how NOT to interact with customers - or detractors - on social media.
Here are some dos and don'ts for providing a great customer experience while you stay out of trouble on social media:
- Don't use social media as ground zero for your defense. If people complain about you on social media, you should respond immediately in two ways: apologize and offer to make it right, as best you can. Jumping in to defend your honor and engage in an argument is likely to make a disgruntled customer more angry, and it's bad form in front of other customers and prospects, too.
- Don't stoop to insults. It can be tempting to fire back a rude comment if you feel like your buttons are being pushed. But your rude comment will live on forever, long after you've stopped being angry - and maybe even solved the problem! Which brings me to...
- Don't try and erase the past. Deleting comments and reviews makes it look like you're hiding something. Unless there are threats or obscenities that younger eyes could see, negative comments should stay up, right alongside your gracious responses. You'll look better if you respond in an even tempered way than if you play Whack-a-Mole with the truth. And ifyou make a rude comment or respond harshly, apologize just as publicly.
- Do offer another way for unsatisfied customers to connect with you and share their experience. Publicly invite them to email you, call you or to stop by your business (if possible) to resolve their problems. They may not accept, but you've still shown the world there are other ways to express concerns to you.
- Do respond to both negative and positive feedback. If you only pop up to thank commenters or reviewers for saying nice things or you only show up to fight, you'll end up with a one-sided conversation. Being responsive, regardless of what comes your way, is always the best policy.
- Do be timely in your responses. Negative feedback can have a domino effect if it doesn't garner a response. Be present and responsive. Make your customers feel heard and you've already won half the battle.
Keeping a cool head over social media channels can be difficult when you feel under attack or unfairly insulted. But - unless you're looking for your own reality show - it pays to keep calm and carry on . . . carry on creating a great customer experience, that is!