Negative feedback on social media can be a painful thing because of the public nature of most social pages. Because of this some companies may consider social media to be a double-edged sword. However, with a little preparation and savvy customer service you can turn even the angriest customers into brand advocates. Here’s how,
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The Best Reactions Are The Swift Kind
Negative feedback is best tackled with a rapid response. Most users equate an unresponsive company with evasive tactics which in turn mean dishonesty and a lack of confidence and courage. Thus, the longer any antagonistic material goes unacknowledged on you social media pages, the more attention it will receive from users and the more credible it will become. Even if the negative feedback is trivial or unwarranted, a prompt response will demonstrate a caring and customer-centric company attitude.
TIP #1: Check all social media pages that are open to user contribution every hour and quickly respond to any and all posts, irate or otherwise.
Delivering Zero Value Can Be A Costly Mistake
A quick reaction and a witty post is not all that you need to accomplish, however. Companies need to understand that social media is a legitimate outlet where genuine grievances with regard to product or service quality will be brought to you attention AND the attention of users that visit your page. Ineffectively responding to these user inputs is a big no-no. By treating these posts casually and offering zero by way of a solution to the users that ask pointed or even general questions, you signal to users that you don’t take them seriously.
Everyone wants to be taken seriously.
TIP #2: Most customers only post negative feedback when they have a genuine problem that needs to be addressed. So address it.
Grunts Aren’t Meant To Handle the Mainframe
Y’know how every company has a select few individuals who seem designed to follow orders and nothing more? I’m talking about the kind of employees that don’t have a spark of creativity or assertiveness in them and need a script to get through everyday life without fumbling things up.
Aside from the fact that you shouldn’t have those people working for anyway, ensure that you don’t assign them to any social media initiatives.
When dealing with a dynamic community of users, a string of scripted replies will seem monotonous, insincere and can break even the staunchest of fans. And besides, if you wanted a machine handling your social media scene, there are tools for that – but trust me, you most definitely don’t want to use them all the time. Respond to negative feedback by taking an active role and trying to be as lively and ebullient as possible without being overly verbose.
TIP #3: The staff assigned to dealing with user feedback should be creative, fun-loving and even tempered. You may even want to draw them from the cream of the customer service department.
Escort Angry Customers To Your Happy Place
Have you ever seen a customer in a jewelry store or bank simply lose it and start yelling at the staff for their inept service? In establishments that make it a point to take care of all their customers, a senior employee usually steps in and escorts the irate customer to a private cabin to discuss things in a ‘calmer more private atmosphere’. Have you experienced the atmosphere in said establishment after this sort of altercation? If you haven’t, let me tell you that it’s far from comfortable.
You can avoid this by playing the part of the senior employee and directing them to a private portal where you can with the customer on a one-to-one basis. In fact, do whatever is necessary to get them to stop complaining on your wall and complaining directly to you instead. If you’re bent on retaining the customer, you may even want to offer them a special discount or freebie.
In some cases an highly offensive post will be from a genuine customer who’s either explosively angry or has no sense of netiquette. When dealing with such folk, message them privately and apologize, offer to help with their problem and state that offensive conduct is not tolerated on the company wall, clearly iterating why their comment has been deleted – yes you can and probably should delete their comment if it contains language that your customer base considers explicit or obscene.
TIP #4: Angry customers need to be taken to a private space and handled with extreme care and efficiency. And all freebies need to be given out privately. If people catch on to the fact that you’re giving out freebies to annoyed customers, expect to see a whole lot of ‘negative feedback’ real soon.
Draw Up A Battle Plan
Your social media page is a dynamic environment that has the potential to host enormous numbers of customer queries and sometimes even the most seasoned SM specialists have problems dealing with the flood. When trying to address so many different questions and complaints, it can be difficult to deliver justice to each one. Throw negative feedback into the bargain and often you’ll be at a loss for words. In such a scenario, creating a game plan before taking action can help solve each problem post quickly and efficiently.
TIP #5: If you generally receive a lot of traffic on your page, it’s a good idea to arm you social media crew with a short set of guidelines on dealing with negative feedback.
If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…
Sometimes you come up against a troll or a flamer. These people exist to create trouble with malicious and often downright abusive posts. Most can’t be reasoned with, so you’d be better off resorting to the delete button. However tempted you may be, never respond in kind or even acknowledge their presence.
TIP #6: Take a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to truly offensive content and wipe it from your page.
What Doesn’t Kill You Only Makes you Stronger
Investing blood, sweat, tears and fair bit of money into a start up and watching it grow only to see customer yelling at your staff via social media can be a frustrating experience. Don’t take it to heart, customers feedback on social media is ALWAYS a good thing. By keeping you connected with the majority of your user base, social media feedback it lets you know what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right. Feeling bad over it achieves nothing and will only increase your propensity to fire back.
TIP #7: Develop a really, really thick-skin and learn from everything.
If you have further suggestions or comments, please feel absolutely free to contribute!