Two guys walk into a bar"?¦ Whoops! Wrong story. Let´s try again.
One of my co-workers walked into one of her regular restaurants with a friend and ordered a meal. Sitting next to the wall, they had a bird´s eye view of a cockroach crawling down that wall. When they brought it to the attention of the manager, she removed the roach but attempted to change the subject to ask how they liked the meal. Several days after telling me this story my co-worker was still disgusted by the incident. She won´t be back any time soon, if ever. Net result: one, probably two customers lost. Each telling others about their bad experience.
Let´s rewind. What if, the manager had comped their meal, and then offered each of them another for free? Her goal would have been to entice them to come back so that they could replace the negative experience with a positive experience. She could have also assured them that she would have an exterminator come out within the next day or so. (Because you know, if there one roach"?¦)
This would have demonstrated that management cared, and when my co-worker retold the story, she would have been able to illustrate that. But now the negative word of mouth begins. If she entices them back again, most likely the negative word of mouth will be sharply reduced, perhaps even replaced with positive word of mouth. There´s an old saying that, "when you fall off your horse, you should get right back up and ride it." In this case, replace the negative experience with a positive one.
This means it´s not enough to have a complaint policy in place; you must empower your employees to act quickly to staunch the negativity and attempt to turn the last impression into a positive one. But you can´t just tell your employees "You´re empowered," without giving them some parameters. For example, every airline brings their flight and cabin crews in for additional training. Using flight simulators, they´re trained over and over again in what to do in each emergency situation so that when the real thing happens, they´ll respond by instinct.
I´m not saying you need to put your employees through simulators, but you can communicate to them, formally and informally, your expectations of what to do when these situations arise.
When your employees know how to react, they won´t stand there like a deer caught in the headlights. They´ll know their limits and feel confident enough to respond instinctively. In many cases this will be the difference between a happy customer spreading positive word of mouth and an unhappy customer spreading negative word of mouth.
Spread this virus: In many communities, the American Cancer Society has a support group for men who´ve had prostate cancer.
The Man to Man program helps men cope with prostate cancer by providing community-based education and support to patients and their family members. In addition, Man to Man plays an important role in community education about prostate cancer; it encourages men and health care professionals to actively consider screening for prostate cancer appropriate to each man´s age and risk for the disease.
If your community doesn´t have a Man to Man program, prostate cancer survivors can contact others who have "been there, had that" by joining the Cancer Survivors Network, an online community of people who share their cancer experiences.
This program is one of many supported by your contributions to the American Cancer Society.