Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with customers and fans of your brand, but what happens when your “likes” get soured with negative complaints? With so many opportunities to send negative feedback via social media and review sites, there seem to be countless ways to ignore the age old advice about keeping quiet if you don’t have anything nice to say. But honest feedback from your audience can be a great moment for growth and improvement, especially if you’re willing to go the extra mile and stay positive. Here are five ways to take that negative feedback and find the silver lining.
1. Stay Cool and Compassionate
A nasty comment on your company’s Facebook page can feel like a slap in the face, especially when its the first thing that visitors see. If you feel upset, angry, or frustrated, take a moment to cool off and focus on the customer’s perspective. Barring rude trolls who just want to stir the pot, most negative comments come from a place where the customer was let down because they anticipated that your company would deliver. A professional, timely response is your chance to do just that, and hopefully make it right.
2. Respond in Real Time
While lashing out when you’re still feeling hot is never a good idea, it’s also unwise to wait to long to respond. A negative comment without any company response gives the impression that you don’t care what others think about your business. As a recent article in Forbes puts it, customers may “gain respect for your business if you respond to the comment in a pleasant and helpful way.” This will show that you’re not only paying attention, but that you’re focused on solutions and how to move forward to a resolution.
3. Reach Out Offline
When it comes time to deal with the logistics of refunds, future discounts, or other ways of satisfying the customer, try to reach out via private message, email, or phone call instead of hashing it all out on a public page. The customer will likely appreciate the personal touch, but this also ensures that you’ll keep your platform clear of any further negativity if the customer continues to lash out.
4. Focus on the Resolution
If you and the customer end up coming to an agreement, you may consider replying once more to their negative review or comment to make clear to the rest of your fans and followers that a resolution has been reached. Your customers will be watching to see how you react, and they’ll appreciate seeing that you did what was needed to address the issue. Alternatively, you may privately request that the customer remove the negative comment once a resolution has been reached. Some customers will be more than happy to delete a grumpy review once they’ve been heard, but others will want their opinion preserved for posterity.
5. Follow Up (Or Forget About ‘Em)
Finally, it’s worth following up with the customer after 30 or 60 days to ensure that they are fully satisfied by the outcome. Then again, if the customer in questions appears to be more focused on a public smear campaign, feel free to unfriend, delete, block, or otherwise digitally cut ties. Your loyal customers don’t need your attention diverted towards those who won’t back down until they’ve started a proper social media firestorm.
Being responsive, professional, and proactive when dealing with negative social media comments can actually help better position your brand and win you greater loyalty from your fans and followers. Know when to pick your public battles, and work to keep all of your exchanges calm, cool, and solution centered.
One way that you can work to eliminate negative experiences with your brand is to partner with a call center to provide outsourced customer service around the clock so that your customers always have a way to get the support they need.