A Simple Action Plan Now Is Better Than Reacting Badly Later
The Sprocket Report
This is an update to "Responding to Negative Feedback on Social Media” dated 1/22/2014.
Marketing experts advise that your business use social media to reach a larger audience. But once you make yourself available to your customers and the world, you’ve also opened yourself up to increased scrutiny – some of which is bound to be negative. How are you going to react?
You’ve got a few options here: 1) You can decide to go with the “crazy celebrity Twitter rant approach,” 2) You can delete all of your social media accounts and hide in a closet, or 3) You can pull up your big business britches and create a plan for constructively dealing with customer feedback.
Decide ahead of time how to respond to certain types of feedback, both positive and negative. If you are going to “like” a positive comment, then make sure you are consistent and give each customer that same attention. Don’t publicly write that you’ll be giving a full refund, free shipping, 20% off, and so on unless you’re prepared to give the same response to other customers with similar issues. When things turn sour, some people will pounce on any small inconsistency to serve their own interests.
While automated responses to customers have their place, social media is much more informal than other forms of communication and no one wants to feel like they’re talking to a machine. Address whatever the concern is specifically, personally and consistently from customer to customer. If you decide the customer’s issue is legitimate, apologize for the inconvenience and ask to take the conversation offline. Give them a phone number or email address for further – and immediate – assistance.
While this shouldn’t need to be said, don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Whether you are dealing with a customer in person or on Facebook,Twitter, etc., you are still representing your company and your brand. Don’t be condescending, snarky or short. People mainly want to be heard, to be understood and to know that their issue matters to you. Ignoring their complaint or getting defensive won’t help and could just make things worse.
“Social” media means that there is going to be interaction and it won’t always be praise. Most of us have a hard time maintaining a cheery disposition when it comes to hearing criticism, which is why you should outline a plan to follow now, before you need it, so you aren’t unpleasantly surprised and find yourself suddenly boiling over. Sprocket Websites offers social media services to handle this kind of response, so if you'd rather not deal with it, just give us a call.