Every brand with an active following is bound to get negative social media feedback from time to time. As a business owner, you may think that receiving negative feedback is damaging to your brand. No business owner likes receiving negative feedback in a highly visible public forum like social media or via review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor. Your right to respond should be seen as a great opportunity! Depending on how you approach it, responding can either cause more damage than the original comment or make things right with the customer and repair your reputation.
So to help you out, here are 8 do’s and dont’s when dealing with negative feedback on social media.
The 8 Dont’s!
- Be a robot – Nobody likes to feel as though they are talking to a robot. You’re a real person, so don’t be afraid to show some personality in your response.
- Turn it into a joke – This is more of a use caution than a strict don’t. Using humour when engaging with social media users can be a great way to break down barriers, but if the issue is of a serious nature and the customer is extremely upset it’s probably best to keep it professional.
- Copy and paste – People read your other responses too, especially if they have had a negative experience themselves. Copying and pasting a response from another post even if the issue is similar can be perceived as not having the time of day for your customers.
- Ignore or delete the comment – Ignoring the comment is a wasted opportunity to make the situation right with your customer and all of the other social media users who may stumble across the comment. Deleting the comment could further aggravate your customer. Of course, if the negative feedback is offensive or threatening to any person in any way, you should delete it.
- Critique the customer – You may not agree with every point the customer is making, but it’s best to focus on responding positively and constructively rather than critiquing points you disagree with. An angry customer can exaggerate the truth, but picking out the details of their complaint you don’t agree with could inflame the situation.
- Be dismissive – Don’t brush the customer’s comment off as a non issue or point to your other positive comments to insinuate they are making it up.
- Act defensive – Your gut instinct may be to go on a fact finding mission to defend your brand, but resolving the situation in a positive and constructive way will look a lot better than turning the situation into a debate.
- Abuse the customer – This should be obvious, but there are too many cases where this has actually happened so here it is.
The 8 Do’s!
- Apologise for not meeting the customer’s expectations – Even if you haven’t had a chance to investigate or don’t agree with the entirety of the complaint you can still apologise that their expectations (even if they were unrealistic or misguided) haven’t been met, without admitting guilt.
- Tell the customer you want to make it right – Make your customer feel as though they are valued and you want them back. If you have a way to resolve the issue include it in your response.
- Highlight preventative actions – If you are changing your internal process to mitigate the risk of it happening to somebody else, advertise it in your response.
- Show some personality where appropriate – Use humour with caution and show some compassion and human emotion. This can break down barriers and make the person remember there is another person behind the screen.
- Acknowledge and sympathise with the customer’s situation – Show your customer you’ve read the complaint by repeating the key points of their complaint back to them. Tell them you understand how this must have made them feel or have impacted them.
- Commit to follow up actions – If you can’t resolve the complaint now, outline the steps you are going to take to investigate and resolve it.
- Offer incentive to come back – Offering things like a discount next time the customer engages with you or to look after them personally when they return may make them give you another shot and is a great public show of good will.
- Be positive – Your aim here is to be a fixer. Everyone knows nothing is perfect and mistakes happen, it’s how we resolve them that counts. If you approach the negative feedback in an overall positive and constructive way you’ll have already gone a way towards repairing any damage the comment may have caused to your brand.
Have you had an interaction gone bad with a customer over social media? Do you have any other techniques you’d recommend to others in handling negative feedback? Let us know!