Turn that frown upside down
There’s always a downside to everything. The trade-off you make for more exposure as a business using social media is the increasing chance of negative feedback and complaints. You’re going to get bad reviews, and complaint posts on your pages, and even the occasional endless ranter/hater that will bomb you with bad posts and tweets just because they can. It’s critical that you handle these appropriately to protect your online reputation.
What to Do:
Monitoring is so important
You won’t know that the negative comment even exists unless you are monitoring your accounts regularly using either a social media dashboard or a social media monitor. Be on the lookout for anything even slightly negative, and then be quick to respond to it. So far, this should be common sense. It’s here that most mistakes happen.
Be sincere & deflect it from public view
When you respond, it should be in a sincere, humble, and helpful manner. Do not discuss any details. Something like “It is unfortunate you had a bad experience! How can we help?” is perfect. It shows that you actually read your feedback and that you want to make it up to the customer if at all possible. Then, take it private to avoid it going viral.
Solve the issue to get the comment removed
Contact the customer directly to hash out any details. Apologize for the issue if it was the fault of the company, apologize for the experience if it wasn’t. Ask them what they would prefer you do to remedy the situation. If it’s reasonable, do it. If not, work towards a workable resolution as best as is possible. If you can satisfy them, ask them if they would remove the negative post.
People want to see you care
If they refuse, respond to the post in a way that shows that you were able to help them: “Thanks again for the feedback, John. So glad we were able to resolve the issue for you!” It’s important that any publicly viewable complaint has a resolution that is also viewable in the feed. 90% of people care more that you responded and attempted to fix a problem than they do about the actual problem.
Don’t remove negative posts
If things don’t go well, you might have to take another avenue. Removing posts is an absolute last resort, and should only be done if it becomes obvious that they are hateful trolls and not real clients. Fans won’t trust you if start scrubbing your posts, or even if you are perceived to be doing it.
Try to avoid getting the comment in the first place
One way to try and avoid this situation altogether is to prominently display other ways to contact you, including a private customer service number or email address. Make sure that you log and analyse any complaints to try and minimize similar future issues.
What Not to Do:
Hash it out in public
Don’t have the conversation in your feed. It’s unprofessional and will turn others off. Always take the conversation to a private channel. This will not only give them the sense that you are taking them seriously and that you are giving them specific attention but also help prevent it going viral.
Air your dirty laundry
Don’t ever discuss or reference specific details in your feed. If the customer is ranting about the buffet line in your restaurant, don’t fall into the trap of responding to it. Keep your response sincere, humble, and helpful, but keep the topic general until you can contact them directly. Sorry for the bad experience, we apologize for the inconvenience, or something to this effect should be your response. The buffet line doesn’t exist in this conversation in your feed.
Come out fists swinging
Don’t defend the company or attack the other person. Keep everything neutral and supportive, especially in your feed. Most cases will involve perceived wrongs that aren’t actually wrongs. You can’t fix that with numbers and facts. You need to listen carefully and work with them, which can’t be done in an open forum.
Learn from the Past
You’re going to make mistakes. It’s part of the game. Mistakes are great because they allow you to continually learn and grow as a business and as a person.
Don’t take every comment to heart, but make sure you honestly assess all comments, especially negative ones. Even if the poster turns out to be an inconsolable snot, that doesn’t mean that their point is not valid. Use these complaints to find weaknesses in your company, staff and products. Then use this to strengthen them. Social media is the best suggestion you can have, it gives an opportunity for you both to have a better working relationship.