Even one negative comment about your brand, on social media, can have a devastating impact on your business. If you don’t know how to handle negative comments on social media, it is high time you start doing something about it.
Negative messages on social media are like tiny reviews of your company, which can stay up on the internet forever. In fact as per MindSight, at least 42% customers use Twitter to get information about products and services that they wish to purchase. So a couple of majorly negative Tweets on your brand and you could end up ruining the first impression that your potential customers would have about your brand.
Almost everyone would want to transform negative comments about their brand into positive experiences; but before doing that, there is another thing that you need to focus upon – You need to interact with those customers who have put up positive comments about your brand. Not only does this bring to you loyal customers, it will also help you show off your company’s success without having to spend a dime.
Negative comments on Facebook or other social media websites is a regular part of the game. And yes, all of these comments do get broadcasted on public forums; but if you follow the right steps and use an effective social media customer service strategy, the very same comments can actually help you bring in and retain more business. Here are a few ways to help you understand how to respond to negative comments:
Whether or not you respond to positive comments; your response to negative comments has to be as quick as possible. Here is something that will help you understand why:
Once when Esaí Vélez’s was traveling via JetBlue, he got stuck with a non-working seatback TV. He responded by tweeting his complaint to JetBlue. Although the comment wasn’t really inflammatory, it did emphasize his disappointment with JetBlue.
Now JetBlue could have just ignored this tweet or made up on excuse in response to this negative comment. But they did neither. In fact they understood his problem and empathized with him. They asked him, if it was just his TV or all TVs on the plane. When he confirmed that it was just his, they offered to give him a credit for the non-working TV. This quick response to negative comment almost instantly converted the negative comment into a positive experience. 23 Minutes later Esaí Vélez Tweeted to appreciate JetBlue for the excellent customer service it had offered.
So how quick should it be – your social media response to negative comments?
As per Convince and Convert, a 60 minute response time is what 42% of your customers would expect. About 32% of these would be happier if you responded within half an hour. 57% of the respondents who use social media to connect with brands would expect you to respond to them, irrespective of the time of the day or the day of the week.
So, the faster you respond, the better it will be, for your brand to look good on social media. There is absolutely no mercy here.
There are exceptions when it comes to responding to negative comments on social media. More often than not, it is best not to respond if the negative comments are hate messages based on racism, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. There are two ways to deal with such comments:
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When the negative comment seems to be of a sensitive nature or if the complainant is particularly aggressive, it would be wiser to take the conversation offline. However, you will still have to respond to the public comment. You could just say, “We are extremely sorry about your experience and would love to resolve the issue for you. Please send us an email with all the details at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will look into the matter immediately.”
A good way to turn your complaint into a positive one is to acknowledge your mistake and maybe poke a little fun at your own company. However, you need to make sure you uphold the brand image that you would like to cultivate. Humility and Levity are two weapons you can use to disarm your critics easily.
The first thing you need to do, before you figure out how to deal with people’s negative comments, is accept it with grace. Not accepting the blame cannot bode well with your brand, no matter how much you apologize for it later.
One of the patrons of a famous restaurant posted a review of her dining experience on Facebook. Unfortunately, the manager of that restaurant did not take this feedback very well. He stuck to his guns instead of apologizing and trying to resolve the issue. The incident ended up picking too much of steam online. Although he did realize his mistake later on and smoothed things out with the disgruntled customer, the damage had already been done.
“Sorry” could be a hard word to say for many companies out there on social media. But if you try and look at the issue from your customer’s point of view, you will automatically accept your mistake and stop arguing.
So, your product or service failed to appeal to your customer. But there is always a way out of it. A sincere apology with a quick replacement or refund should do the trick and nip the issue in the bud. In cases where replacement or refund is not possible, you could give a money-off voucher that they can use for their next purchase. Ultimately being accountable for your actions is all that matters.
No business can run without customers and in this world that is filled with tough competition in every field, you will need customers who would stick to your brand, forever. However, this is not going to happen unless your customers feel that they are being heard and listened to. You will have to make attempts to connect with them, understand their concerns, empathize, and then take actions to resolve their issues without any further delays.
At Vancouver, when Mike McCready was attending a #PSEWEB Conference, he tweeted about his room at the Delta. He didn’t really tag the hotel or ask for anything. All he said was that the view wasn’t so good, although the room was. Within a matter of 60 minutes, Delta responded to his Tweet, offering him a room with a better view. After the conference, when Mike returned to his room, he was welcomed with a handwritten note from the hotel staff, along with a dish of sweets. The impact that this gesture created made him Tweet about it, the very same day.
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More often than not, an apology or an explanation may not really satisfy the customers who may be offended by your product or service. In such cases offering an incentive can help in transforming an estranged customer into a content one. You can offer a discount or a premium service depending on your ability. You can ask for a private conversation or decide to do this publicly. The choice is entirely on you.
Mistakes are bound to happen no matter how small or big your business is. But if you are a brand that thinks of its customers, you will find a way to resolve the issues as per your customer expectations. With a variety of customers worldwide, and over a billion in revenue, Zappos.com is doing a great job of this. You can too.
Providing a concrete solution to your estranged customer is not where it all ends. You have to make sure the world knows about it. For this, you can gently ask the customer to respond on the quick fix through the very same platform where he posted the negative comment. If he doesn’t agree, you can, in your own way, convey the message to your audience, letting them know that the problem has been solved and eradicated.
Not responding to your customers’ comments on social media is like not answering their calls. It can be bad for your business. It doesn’t matter whether you have 10 employees or 10,000, you will have to respond to all of the comments your customers, fans, and prospects make, on social media. Understanding how to deal with negative comments on social media is worth all your time and efforts. Executing great social responses will not only wow your customers and drive their loyalty; it will also set you apart from your competitors.