In this changing world, customers are turning to social media to find out more about brands instead of just networking. As consumers flock to this platform, businesses have also started to use social media to market their products and services.
For better or worse, social networking sites are an avenue for free-flowing and spontaneous conversations. Here, brands are exposed to all types of feedback, whether positive or negative. Of course, not every customer will be satisfied with your products and services. Therefore, it’s important to face the fact that you won’t receive positive comments at all times.
Negative customer feedback may come in different forms, like constructive criticism or trollish and spammy comments. You should be able to handle and respond to these comments effectively. As social media is a public domain, bad comments can cause you to lose customers.
As part of online reputation management, here are six ways to handle negative feedback on social websites like a pro.
1. Don’t take it personally.
If you’re a small business owner or if you’re new to the industry, it might be a little hard to distance yourself from your customers’ negative feedback about your brand. If you’re a hands-on social manager, you may feel as though you’re being attacked personally when you get negative comments. Understand that none of what people are saying about the your brand and its products are directed at you specifically.
Thus, when you receive unfavorable reviews, step back and keep your emotions in check. Rather than taking them personally, use customers’ criticisms to improve your business.
2. Address conflicts in private.
Identify the social media posts that you must respond to in private. Surely, there are situations that the public need not pry into. To avoid conflict escalation, address negative feedback and conflicts through private correspondence to gather more details about customer concerns and quickly provide appropriate solutions.
Through private messaging, you can also offer discounts and freebies to customers so you can make it up to them. Just remember to reply to the customer’s public post to inform them that you will get in touch with them privately. This will also let your other page visitors know that you’re actively working on all the complaints you receive.
3. Always respond.
Remember that everyone who visits your page can see your public social media interactions. Leaving some posts unanswered paints you in bad light. Remember that your competitors are doing their best to address the flak they receive and create a spotless image, and so should you. Being unresponsive can make you appear unsympathetic or that you lack concern for your customers.
4. Keep public replies light and friendly.
Just like in other customer service channels, you must build rapport with you audience through social media sites. Of course, you must also be careful not to come across as too friendly to the extent that you appear unprofessional. However, being warm toward customers can help increase customer engagement.
Alternatively, learn to hold your tongue when responding to bad customer feedback. Though you may feel compelled to answer with snark and sarcasm, remember that this won’t help your aim to create a positive customer experience.
5. Apologize sincerely.
“The customer is always right” is a handy reminder when dealing with bad reviews and comments from customers. You’re not losing credibility when you apologize earnestly for your shortcomings. On the contrary, doing so strengthens your brand, because you’re able to show sincerity and empathy.
If someone accuses you wrongly of committing a mistake, apologize anyway, but make sure to clear your name by explaining your side of the story.
6. Don’t delete and ignore feedback.
Sure, it’s tempting to delete bad reviews or comments from your page, but think twice before you do. If these are valid complaints, take them as constructive criticism. Clients visiting your page wouldn’t want to see post after post of positive reviews only to find negative ones on other sites or experience it firsthand. This can damage your credibility and make your brand seem dishonest. Unless the comments are irrational, offensive, and abusive, you can go ahead and delete them.
Intentionally ignoring negative comments is far from being an effective online reputation management technique. Rather, this can worsen the tension between the client and your brand. It’s thus better to acknowledge your weaknesses and continue working on them. More than perfection, what customers truly value is complete transparency with the brands they do business with.
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