Responding to Negative Feedback on Social Media
DIY Sprocket Solutions
This article has been updated on 10/2/2019 with the article entitled "A Simple Action Plan Now Is Better Than Reacting Badly Later"
I don’t have to drone on and on about how important it is that your business is on social media. Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re already set up with at least a few different outlets. But, now that you’ve stuck your neck out there and made yourself available to your customers and the world, you’ve also opened yourself up to the scrutiny.
You’ve got a few options here. You can decide to go with a “crazy celebrity Twitter rant approach”, you can delete all social media accounts and run into hiding, or you can pull up your big business britches and come up with a plan to constructively deal with customer feedback of all sorts. My suggestion? Choose the latter of these options –and approach each situation with a formulated plan.
Decide ahead of time what your plan will be for certain types of feedback –including positive. If you’re going to ‘like’, ‘favorite’ or ‘+1’ a positive comment, then make sure you are consistent and give each customer that same attention. Whatever your approach, be consistent. When things turn sour they’ll do so fast, and it seems like people will cling to any small inconsistency you show with the responses that you’re giving to customers. Don’t publicly write that you’ll be giving a full refund, free shipping, 20% off, etc. unless you’re ready for anyone else with a similar issue to ask for the same outcome.
I’m not suggesting, however, that you give automated responses to your customers. Social media is much more informal than other business settings and no one wants to feel like they’re talking to a machine. Obviously, you should address whatever the concern is specifically and personally. At the same time, you want to be consistent with your approach. If you decide that you will acknowledge the customer’s issue, apologize for the inconvenience, and ask that they call a certain number or email for further (immediate) assistance –then do so with each and every concern. Just don’t sound like a robot while you’re doing it.
Also, I feel like this should go without being said, but I’ll say it anyway –don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Just because you’re talking to someone on Facebook, Twitter, etc. doesn’t mean that you’re not still representing your company and brand. Don’t get condescending, snarky, or short. People want the same things you want. They want to be heard, they want to be understood, and they want their issues to matter. It’s up to you to fill those three needs. Ignoring complaints or getting defensive doesn’t help any of those points.
So buck up folks, it’s time to get social. For those who don’t have the most cheery disposition when it comes to hearing criticism –I suggest a great outline for you to stick to so you don’t let yourself boil over. And remember, be consistent.