If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’re lucky. Really lucky. One day, sooner rather than later, your Social Media account will receive a negative review, post, or Tweet. I’m not being ugly or speaking ill about your business, I’m being realistic. Before the inevitable strikes, it’s important to be prepared to properly and promptly respond to negative comments and reviews on Social Media.
Instead of telling you what to do and what not to do, I’m going to provide you real-life scenarios to effectively convey why facing customer complaints and reviews is crucial to your current and future customers.
Take the Emotion Out of Responses
This is so important. Remember Amy’s Baking Company from Kitchen Nightmares? If you watched the show, you know what a storm they created on Social Media with their tirades and delusions. Here is just one example of oh, so many, of when emotions go wrong…
Whatever you do, don’t be Amy’s Baking Company. Never be Amy’s Baking Company.
When you’re hit with criticism, the first step is to relax and make sure that your response is not drenched in anger or hurt. Getting into an online feud will only paint you in a bad light. Take a walk, grab a coffee, meditate – whatever you have to do to move through your emotions.
Acknowledge the Customer and Take It Offline
The last thing you ever want to do is hash out an issue publically. Apologize for a negative experience and offer the customer the opportunity to take the conversation offline to resolve the issue. This allows for your Customer Service team to take over and showcase talents to right the situation.
To me, Zappos.com arguably has the best customer service on Social Media. Notice how an apology is extended, there is a desire to make things right, the conflict is explained, and an opportunity to rectify the problem offline is presented? Perfect execution!
If negativity takes an even darker turn, there is in no shame in blocking said individual from your Social Media accounts. Is it ideal? No, but a rational person will be reasonable to work through conflicts in many cases. If an individual goes on an attack or threatens, consider this avenue when other options are exhausted.
You’re Being Watched
It’s crucial to remember that you’re not only responding to right the experience of your customers, you’re also setting the bar for customer expectations for future and current clients.
Here is an example from a local location of a national chain restaurant:
Three negative reviews, all with no response or acknowledgement. In fact, these 3 reviews are featured on the page. …Unwanted… flavorless… Not fresh… Why would a new customer or an earned customer want to visit your restaurant, given these reviews?
Consider the Source
The Customer Service game has dramatically changed since Social Media, and so has the behaviors of people. People are able to say, do, and act in any way they see fit on Social Media with little chance of real repercussions. Would people say the same things to one’s face as they write on Social Media? Probably not. Behind a phone or computer screen, everyone as the opportunity to act tough and judgmental. Ignorance and a lack of respect is rampant; just another reason why it’s so important to NOT allow your emotions to get involved.
Here is a snippet a news station. They initially posted with a spelling error in the title. Here’s just a piece of the comments that came flooding in…
NOTE: This post was updated by the new source prior to this screen capture. Upon first post, Bojangles’ was spelled Bo Jangle’s.
A simple mistake, but not to those who jumped in to criticize. Yikes.
Moral of the story? Mistakes are going to happen. People are going to be angry. You’re going to catch some slack. Period. How you react is more important than anything. You’re a human, emotions get high, but remove your personal self from your business voice. Acknowledge the complaint, offer to take the conversation offline, and right the experience as best as you can. After an outcome is reached, there is no shame in asking your customer to update their review or post to reflect the outcome.