Social media has fundamentally changed how customers interact with companies. It’s made it easy for customers to learn about your business and get fast answers to questions about your products or services. However, it has also become a forum for consumers to voice their complaints when they have a negative experience with your service and your company. According to a MediaPost survey, 45% of social media users surveyed said they share feedback about bad experiences with businesses on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social platforms.
To think you will be able to keep everyone happy at all times is unrealistic. Sometimes negative comments will inevitably find their way onto your business social media pages. How you handle this negative feedback will determine whether you lose complaining customers or strengthen your relationship with them. It will also shape the experience of future customers who view your online presence. The following three tips will help you handle negative comments on social media and turn them into a positive for you.
1. Create a Process.
As a part of your business profile, you should create a process for handling negative comments. Document your process and make it part of the policies provided to whoever moderates your social media accounts. This process will be an important part of recognizing who the issue should be directed to. Whether the negative comment is related to technical issues, poor customer support, or a department error, it can be addressed faster when it is passed along right away. Your principal objective should always be addressing the issue that caused the negative comment rather than the comment itself.
2. Respond Quickly.
According to Convince and Convert, 42 percent of consumers complaining on social media expect a 60 minute response time. Because of the near-instant response expected on social media, consumers are often more impressed with a prompt response than a solution to their problem. Additionally, because word travels quickly on social media, a quick response will help preserve your company’s reputation when negative feedback arises.
SocialFish explains, “When people reach out to you on social media and receive satisfying and fast responses, their feelings of connection to your company are heightened, and they’re far more likely to make purchases from you and even recommend you to their friends.”
To formulate a quick response, develop a library of approved language and create a general response template for negative feedback. The template should include:
- A personal introduction of yourself or the person responding.
- A reference from the respondent’s comment that acknowledges their specific problem.
- Links to any resource(s) that may help solve their problem.
- Assurance that the problem will be resolved as quickly as possible.
Respond publicly to the comment in question, but be sure to respond to the person via private message as well so you can resolve their problem.
3. Respond with Understanding.
People often complain because they want to be acknowledged. It’s not simply a personal attack on you or your business. They are human beings who just want you to understand them. When you send a personal message to the person who has left a negative comment, adopt a tone of patience and understanding. Remember that ultimately, most people are quick to forgive if they are treated well. In a world in which people are connecting with brands online more and more, they are really searching for ones that have a human, personal side to them. The brand that offers this level of online customer service will often gain more respect and loyalty despite the negative experience a consumer may have.
Negative comments on social media are inevitable. Don’t seek to avoid them. Instead, recognize them as opportunities to turn an adverse circumstance into something positive. If you use these three steps to engage with your audience, your client relationships will inevitably grow stronger.
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