It happens to even the best of companies. Every once in a while, a customer gets upset, and leaves a negative comment on social media. Luckily, handling the situation in a quick, appropriate manner can actually help brands increase customer loyalty and retention. According to an NM Incite study, 71% of consumers who experience positive customer care on social media are likely to recommend the brand to others, compared to 19% of customers who don’t get a response.
Here are some tips for dealing with negative comments on social media:
Put together a plan with your client in advance
When complaints come through, reacting quickly is essential. Creating an action plan with your client in advance will make things smoother when a problem arises. Figure out an idea of how they’d like you to respond, and identify a person (usually a manager) from the company who will be the one to reach out to the unhappy customer. When a complaint comes in, notify this person immediately.
Respond as quickly as possible
Try to respond to complaints as quickly as possible- within one hour is the ideal amount of time. You don’t have to have an answer, or resolve the problem immediately, but acknowledge the issue so they know that someone is looking into it. Let the customer know that you are alerting a manager, or that someone will be in touch shortly. This helps you manage expectations, and it gives the customer some peace of mind.
Acknowledge mistakes, and be (genuinely) apologetic
A realistic customer knows that nobody is perfect, and acknowledging a mistake usually works out better than trying to hide it. This should eliminate some negative back-and-forth conversation with the customer, allowing you to move to the next step- solving the issue- much faster.
When you apologize on social media, make sure it’s personalized and genuine. It’s pretty easy to tell when you copy and paste a generic response, and it can come off as you not caring. Show that you are a human, and you genuinely care about fixing the situation.
Get the conversation out of the public eye ASAP
Unless the complaint comes in via private message, all communications on social media are there for the public to see. Unfortunately, I must tell you that 95% of complaints are NOT delivered in a private message. Angry customers usually want others to read about their experience, and they don’t care how many people read it.
When this happens, try to move the conversation to somewhere private as fast as possible. You can do this by apologizing, and then asking them to send a private message with their contact details, so somebody can reach out to discuss their situation.
Don’t just delete negative comments
Understand that deleting negative comments does NOT solve the problem. In fact, deleting a complaint and ignoring the customer will usually result in the problem getting worse, as the customer will likely keep commenting until you acknowledge them. Always, always respond and try to fix the issue.
I only recommend deleting a negative comment if it is profane or downright disrespectful.