Social media offers brands an unprecedented opportunity to communicate directly with clients and customers. This is instrumental in forging brand loyalty, fostering trust, and exemplifying a superior customer experience. But sometimes things go wrong. Negative comments on social media can be the chink in your marketing armor, no matter how seamless your strategy is. So how should you handle negative social comments? Here are five principles to guide you in dealing with negative feedback.
Acknowledge comments quickly
Many users who choose to post negative social comments don’t think they’re being heard and lash out. Time is of the essence here. By acknowledging the customer’s issue as quickly as possible, you can mitigate the snowball effect where other customers are sucked into the negative vortex. No need to offer solutions right away, this is simply the first point of contact where you’re starting the process of positive engagement.
See the customer’s viewpoint
Customers are not looking for excuses, no matter how legitimate they may be. Your brand’s goal is to begin each interaction from the customer’s point of view. Find out what happened, how it affected them, and what needs to happen to make it right. Always approach each comment with the intention of connecting with the customer, no matter how negative their feedback may be. Offer empathy when necessary and focus on what it is they need.
Move the conversation
In some cases, a public forum may not be the best way to resolve complex issues. If necessary, offer to continue the conversation via messenger, email, or a phone call. By moving the conversation to a private forum, brands are better able to handle the feedback with personal attention. By moving the conversation, we don’t mean delete it. It’s better for your audience to see constructive feedback as they will know that you are reliable and there to step in if needed.
Say sorry (if it’s your fault)
They say that “sorry” can be the hardest word. This also stands true for brands on social media. Saying “sorry” can bridge the gap between a disgruntled customer and your brand, but It must be done the right way. It’s imperative that your apology does not sound like a canned response. Make the effort to provide a personal response and apology to a customer if you dropped the ball. The last thing an unsatisfied customer needs is to feel patronized.
Offer a solution
Once you’ve moved the conversation to a private platform, make sure you understand what you need to do to alleviate the customer’s pain. Offer tangible solutions and follow through on them. By treating your customers with kindness and coming through with credible results, this will close the circle of communication on a positive note, which, of course, is the goal of every interaction with your audience.