Don’t fear the occasional negative comment on social media from a consumer — if handled properly, it can even improve your relationships and reputation.
When a company makes the (smart) decision to begin utilizing social media for their organization, they are opening themselves up for positive dialogue with their consumers, an increase in reach, engagement – and inevitable negative feedback and comments from consumers. After all, you can’t please everyone. What you can do, however, is turn this negativity into a positive with the right steps.
Do not ignore it.
While it can be scary to be faced with an unhappy consumer posting their unfavorable experience on your company’s social media pages for all to see, the worst possible thing you can do is ignore it or delete it. This just shows that you are avoiding interaction with your consumers — the opposite of what social media is all about — and making the problem worse by not trying to solve it. This would be the same as a customer calling your company’s customer service line and the representative hanging up the phone. The process has just shifted online and should therefore be handled in the same manner.
What you CAN do.
Reply to the post in a timely manner. In today’s world of immediate gratification, people are looking for a response quickly, or they may get even more upset. Start by apologizing for the consumer’s negative experience with your company, using the person’s first name. Then, offer some type of solution and an email address or phone number where they can contact your company to receive their offer.
Wegmans Does it Right.
A local company that successfully uses this approach is Wegmans. If you take a look at their Twitter feed, you will see several personalized replies to people who have tweeted at them with positive or negative comments. In response to a tweet showing an expired red pepper that a customer purchased, Wegmans replied by saying, “That’s not good Patrice, we’re very sorry! Pls DM us w/ your contact info and we will send you a refund; again, our apologies.” Wegmans utilized each step in handling negative feedback: replying quickly, personalizing the message with the consumer’s name, apologizing, and offering an easy solution.”
Take Advantage of It.
Responding to negative feedback or comments in an appropriate manner may reap even more positive results than receiving no unfavorable comments at all. This shows the complaining consumer, as well as other consumers browsing your pages, that your company cares about their patronage enough to handle their situation and maintain their happiness with your product or service.
Written by Sarah Burke
Sarah Burke is a Senior at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY majoring in Communication Studies. @Sarahh716 on Twitter.