Negative social media comments are unavoidable on today’s internet. Whether your customers are just frustrated and want to share their experiences, or anonymity adds bravery, your business is going to face negative comments on social media at some point or another. The bigger your company gets the more often you’re going to experience the problem, so knowing how to effectively deal with negative social media comments is important. Here are some tips on what you can do to minimize the impact of negative sentiments about your company on social media.
Invite More Detailed Feedback
If your customer has a legitimate complaint, it’s a good idea to get as much information and feedback from them as you can. Instead of engaging on social media which tends to be restrictive as short-form communication, share an email address or an online mail address that they can write to and provide detail about their experience with your company.
Having several ways they can write to you, including a virtual mail address in the form of a postal mailbox and street address, will make them feel looked after and present your company as available to them to hear their complaint while still being convenient to you. The extra information they’ll provide will help you not only address their complaints but also avoid similar instances from occurring again.
This mistake can be easily avoided. Don’t leave negative comments and feedback on social media to sit unanswered for too long. Addressing a customer quickly while you still have a chance to turn their experience from a negative one to a positive one is essential. If you have a customer who is expressing their unhappiness with your service or product, not replying to them will let that negativity fester and chances are they’ll take it further, either to other social media platforms or tell their friends and family how you simply failed to respond. You can avoid this by simply being quick to engage with the complainant.
Try to Avoid Canned Replies
Replying to social media complaints or negative comments with a pre-written copy and paste response can end up exacerbating the problem, instead of offering reassurance. If your company is larger, this might be more difficult to avoid, but try and customize your responses on social media and don’t just offer a generic response. It doesn’t take much longer to quickly type a response, and your customers are going to feel much more heard.
Offer an Apology
No matter how outrageous or embellished the customer’s negative post is, offer them an apology. You don’t have to admit fault or accept that your company or employees were in the wrong to offer an apology. Start by offering an apology that dealing with your company has made them feel upset or angry and take it from there. When you open with an apology, the customer will be more receptive and willing to listen to what you have to say, and that means you’ll have an easier time resolving. This is especially important because the disagreement is likely happening in public, so you don’t want to be seen as combative or unapologetic to your customers.
Move the Discussion to Private
If the person who left a negative comment is argumentative and continues to be negative or say damaging things about your company or brand, do your best to take the discussion into a more private setting, whether that is a phone call, email exchange, or direct message. Your first response and apology should be public, but from there, move it to a private discussion quickly. This way, they will feel heard and get the personal attention they want all while removing the negativity from the public eye.
Don’t Delete the Negative Comments
Deleting negative comments is generally a mistake. If they are full of bad and offensive language, inappropriate comments, or based on lies, then you should delete them. If it’s clear that the comments are trolling, then they should get the delete treatment too.
If the comment is a genuine complaint, leave it up. If you delete them, the commenter is likely to comment again and accuse you of censoring your page and that can be a worse look than a negative comment. If you’re seen to be helping and resolving negative comments, this can also be good marketing, as it shows your commitment to customer satisfaction. And lastly, if you have no negative comments and no negative reviews on your social media platform, that can look suspicious too!
Negative comments on social media can be a tricky thing to deal with, so having a process in place that turns them into positive, happy customers is essential. Defining this process upfront will help you better deal with them more quickly, and that’s exactly what we want on social media – responsiveness and professionalism.