Social media is a brilliant way to promote your business with so many positive outcomes - complimentary comments, five star reviews and being tagged in fab pics of your products is good for your ego but most importantly a fantastic way to attract new customers!
However, the bigger your brand presence online the more likely you are to receive negative comments or complaints - not all of them will be justified - but handling them the right way is crucial.
MAKE SURE YOUR MONITOR!
Bad social media days happen when you least expect it and sods law it’ll be that one time you didn’t check your notifications that someone has posted a negative comment and it escalates before you even noticed it's happened!
The best way to avoid this is to make sure you monitor your channels throughout the day - ideally first thing in the morning, the middle of the day and at the end of your working day. Negative comments or complaints are best dealt with swiftly to avoid a full-blown crisis. By responding quickly you have the best chance of turning things around and not letting it ruin your day.
Equally, positive comments / reviews need to be replied to and shared quickly too!
DON'T BURY YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND
Denial is NEVER the answer! Ignore negative comments at your peril - they won't go away and it will only eat away at you as you desperately try to pretend they're not there.
Deal with the problem as quickly as possible - even if you need some time to formulate a full response or you need to check the accuracy of the complaint - always acknowledge it and let them know you’ll be back in touch ASAP.
TAKE IT OFFLINE
Try to take the conversation off your feed, encourage them to message, email or call you to sort things out instead, this way they’ll know they’re speaking to a person and not a faceless organisation - which is more likely to get a vitriolic response.
Always respond to the public comment so that others can see that you are dealing with the situation professionally.
Respond to negative comments by speaking directly to the customer - they want to be heard and so the same ‘copy and paste’ reply will not help to rebuild their trust.
Be empathetic, listen to their feedback and try to put yourselves in their shoes - this isn’t personal against you - customers don’t see the individual behind the business trying their best - they just want to vent to someone!
Don’t be defensive but instead thank them for bringing the matter to your attention - reassure them that you’ll look into the matter. Tell them your name and offer an email address and/or phone number so that they can contact you directly.
If you can’t solve the problem quickly, do your research and let the customer know when you’ll get back to them.
IGNORE THE TROLLS
Paradoxically, there are circumstances when you should ignore comments! If you are trolled by a ‘hater’ who is posting negative comments that are untrue or abusive then the best thing is to ignore them - they don’t do productive dialogue!
Comments with offensive language / swearing should be hidden or deleted.
RESPOND WITH HUMOUR, KINDNESS OR BOTH!
People are happy to complain or be negative more readily on social media compared to when they’re face-to-face with someone - language is likely to be more direct and hurtful as a result.
If they are simply being negative, expressing their point of view and not making a direct complaint, kill them with kindness or disarm them with a witty reply - if this fits with your brand image.
Dealing with negativity can be exhausting and upsetting - especially when you’re dealing with other issues related to running your own business.
Tomorrow is another day! Issues and complaints can be a learning curve and help you to improve how you do things going forward. Always be confident in your brand values and focus on how you will do better in the future.