So what exactly is a Cyber Bully anyway? According to Bullyonline.org Cyber bully`s or Client Bully`s can be referred to as the following:
Client bullying is where employees are bullied by those they serve, eg teachers are bullied (and often assaulted) by pupils and their parents, nurses are bullied by patients and their relatives, social workers are bullied by their clients, and shop/bank/building society staff are bullied by customers. Often the client is claiming their perceived right (eg to better service) in an abusive, derogatory and often physically violent manner.
Cyber bullying is the misuse of email systems or Internet forums etc for sending aggressive flame mails. Serial bullies have few communication skills (and often none), thus the impersonal nature of email makes it an ideal tool for causing conflict. Sometimes called cyberstalking.
Ok so now that we are on the same page, here are some things you as a business owner can do to stand up to cyber bullying.
To read more about how they impact business, check out our article: Cyber Bullying and Online Reputation Management.
1. Remember that all of your eggs are not in one basket. Keeping your funnel full is a great way to give yourself some peace of mind. If you know that you have a roster with many interested customers you will avoid selling yourself too short.
The most frequent cause of customers bullying organizations is the quest for financial gain. The mantra `the customer is always right` has been ingrained in the general public for decades. While this idea was first designed to protect the consumer and encourage good business practices, today there are individuals who will take this to the extreme to get what they want. Any company who has been in business for some time has had to deal with this type of abuse in one way or another from customers who will stop at nothing.
The problem with this is, for this type of customer, enough will never be enough and you could end up using valuable resources in a futile effort to please them. Both professional and emotional resources are often required to meet their requests.
Sadly, at the end of the day, you as a business owner must be aware that these efforts may not make a difference. Think about it, would a furniture company give you a couch for $10 just because you complained that it was the only fair price? Of course not!
It would be bad business. After all, that furniture company still has rent to pay, and their employees need to feed their families. Might a customer turn to the internet to slander them because they said no? They definitely could, it`s a free country. But, that doesn`t make it right.
You may feel powerless, but rest assured that consumers are savvy, and they can usually tell when a bad review is legitimate or not. To learn how to spot a legitimate review click here. Many times the customer who posted so aggressively will end up looking more silly than you do.
Take the high road, and stick to your guns. Here is something to keep in mind the next time you are feeling pressured to do something that you are uncomfortable with: you can`t please everyone.
2. Draw out the truth. Be strong and ethical, but don`t be a doormat. Take the time to address the issue at hand with the customer. Let them know that you are only able to help them if they are willing to talk about things rationally. Always address the facts.
Sometimes, if your business is complicated (like ours is) a complaint can be as simple as a misunderstanding. If you are a business to business company offering a service that is highly technical or very niche, you`ll understand what I mean. As a marketing company based in online technology, we sometimes have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to questions about coding, linking, and the value of blogs that may seem unconventional to our customers, even once they are ranking at the top.
Most of our customers simply do not speak “internet,“ but it`s our pleasure to teach them. It just means from time to time we have to take a few extra minutes to elaborate. This helps to diffuse conflict scenarios before they escalate. Take a look at this review case study below to see how you can address an aggressive online review using facts:
I wanted to give a real example from our company so that (a) I didn`t air out any other company`s dirty laundry, and (b) to show that it can happen to anybody. This is a perfect example of a misunderstanding gone awry.
It is unusual for a company to post their own negative review on their website, and we probably wouldn`t recommend doing it on yours, but in this particular instance we wanted to share this with you to give you helpful information should you ever find yourself in a similar position.
Most blogs out there suggest ignoring negative comments altogether, but in our opinion, there is nothing wrong with addressing them. (As long as you keep it clean, and on topic.) In this case, here is how we chose to reply:
3. Apologize when it is the right thing to do. If your company has clearly made an error, by all means fix it and acknowledge it to your customer. Sweeping errors under the rug is not a recipe for online reputation management success. Strong customer service is crucial to any business hoping to thrive.
That being said, keep in mind that you don`t and shouldn`t have to apologize for everything. If you feel like you are being threatened or mistreated in any way by one of your prospects or customers, you have the right to stand up for yourself and your business. Don`t allow the threat of bad blogging prevent you from running the business you want to run.
Your products and services are valuable, and pandering to unrealistic customer requests or feedback will deplete their value in the long run. If you are the restaurant who always gives a free meal, no matter what the complaint is, get ready to give out a lot of free meals. Reputation is everything.
If you would like more information about how to deal with online reputation management or cyber bullies you can call us at 1-877-947-3351. We can help you build winning strategies that encourage positive customer engagement online.