6 Steps to Dealing With Negative Comments on Social Media
You or your business has been tagged in a nasty social media comment, what do you do now? Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, negativity spreads like wildfire when it’s voiced over the Internet and reacting the right way could save you a lot of time, grief, and probably a few customers. Here are 6 steps to help you contain the situation and minimize damage.
1. Message Received – Slowly and carefully read through the message. What is the customer angry about? What is the root of the problem? How can you resolve this person’s issues with you? Often times a complaint over social media can be easily taken care of if you take the time to pay attention to what a customer is actually saying.
2. Screenshot It – It is always important to document the incident for multiple reasons. First and foremost, this will save a lot of grief in case things get out of hand, if the complainer lashes out at you or another commenter in a way that is inappropriate it will be to your benefit to have evidence of you handling the situation in a respectful and polite manner. Social media incidents should also be captured and saved as a training tool for new employees who are learning how to navigate customer relations online. Finally, a screenshot of the exchange can be used as a reference for a co-worker who might be following up with the customer.
3. Resist the Urge to Delete – By deleting complaints or comments over social media it might appear as if you are not being transparent with your customers, or have something to hide. It could also backfire on you if the person posting the complaint decides to put up their comments on another form of social media, and calls you out on deleting the original. *Side note: comments that are especially derogatory or have the potential to offend other people are fair game for deletion, use your common sense here.
4. Don’t Delay – The average social media user expects to receive a response within an hour and waiting too long to get back to someone can come off as avoiding the situation. Also it is never a good idea to let a negative post about you or your business sit for too long without your side of the story being shown as well. This increases the likelihood that a person browsing social media will see a bad review or complaint about your company.
5. Stay Calm – Draft a response and read over it a few times before posting. Keep in mind that your response will be judged not only by the person it is directed to, but by hundreds to hundreds of thousands of social media users. Remember the basics of good customer service and also don’t forget that people reading your comments can’t hear your tone through your words, don’t write anything that could be misconstrued to have a rude or sarcastic meaning.
6. Respond – Send your response. Be direct, target the central issue, and remain apologetic. Social media gives businesses a unique opportunity to publically defend themselves not only to one customer who had a bad experience, but to lots of other potential new customers. Choose your words wisely and you could turn an angry client into a brand evangelist. Don’t forget to monitor the post and follow up with any more questions/concerns the angry customer has.