How to Deal With Negative Feedback on Social Media
Social media networking has changed the internet from a series of closed pages to a loud dialogue. While receiving complaints on social media can seem devastating, consider them as an opportunity to provide real feedback and resolution. While social media can spread complaints like wildfire, responding in a timely fashion can showcase your company's commitment to excellence. A strong commitment to customer service and quick responses are essential to salvaging relationships with detractors via social media.
1. Don't Delete
When a customer makes the effort to come to you with a complaint, your initial reaction may be to immediately remove the negative feedback to avoid confrontation or bad PR. Ignoring negative feedback never resolves the issue and will likely incense the detractor by making them feel invaluable or ignored. Make responding to complaints quickly a high priority, and never delete honest feedback from a customer seeking real resolution.
2. Have a Plan in Place
Responding to every single piece of feedback on the internet probably isn't an effective use of your time, particularly if your organization has a wide-spread social media reach. While it is prudent to set up Google alerts for your company name and closely monitor social media networks for mentions, you can ignore complaints which take place in a small, closed forum. Facebook posts, direct messages on Twitter and blog comments should almost always be addressed. Develop a strategy to quickly address these detractors and work towards a resolution.
3. Know Who to Ignore
Some customers are simply impossible to please, and blending inbound marketing with customer service means knowing when to pick your battles. If the individual is launching a personal attack with the intent to smear your company's name or seems only motivated to stir the pot, trying to please the individual in a public forum might not be worth your time.
4. Customer Service
Tweets, Facebook posts and blog comments represent a real, human customer with legitimate needs and concerns. Customer service is customer service, whether it takes place over a desk, the phone or on a major social media network. Integrate the pillars of good, old-fashionedcustomer service into your plan of attack for dealing with complaints on social media. Be sure to empathize, apologize and offer resolution.
5. Be a Human
Adding a personalized touch to your responses to detractors can deescalate situations by putting a real face to your company. Introduce yourself by first name and job title when practical. Address customers by their first name, and always work towards resolution. If a clothing company's recent customer Gary complains the t-shirt the ordered was too small, an appropriate response could be as follows: “Gary, thank you for letting us know. We're sorry that the shirt wasn't as described. We'll go ahead and ship you a gift certificate and a return label, and check into the accuracy of our sizing descriptions on the company website. Regards, Jason the Social Media Manager” This response is pithy but to the point: the company representative acknowledges the customer's issue, apologizes and offers a real resolution.
6. Move Dialogues
Dealing with detractors on social media can be challenging, particularly on platforms such as Twitter. Moving dialogue into a different arena can be necessary to reaching real resolution. Understand when your conversation is going to need to exceed a 140-character limit and offer an easy means for the customer to continue working towards resolution. Sending a private message with your phone number or email address can be a worthwhile solution. Avoid directing frustrated customers towards lengthy forms or any other platforms that can seem like an effort to mine data or further waste their time.
7. Reward your Promoters
Responding to negative feedback on social media is as essential as addressing complaints. If customers don't feel heard or acknowledged, they're likely to stop engaging. Respond to compliments and questions in a time-sensitive, thoughtful manner and consider going an extra mile to really inspire positive chatter. Consider randomly rewarding promoters on social media channels with a gift certificate to recognize their efforts.