Your social media presence can have a huge impact on your online reputation management and public image. Social media is the place where you can directly interact with your customers, and chances are if they are unhappy for any reason, they will go back to that very same platform to express their disappointment. The scale of a brand’s social media presence is not confined by the number of followers it owns or the number of pages and groups a brand administers on Facebook and other popular social networks. It can be the varying reactions from people on posts, posts that might go viral, or those that have already gone viral and put your brand at risk of negative reviews and public flak.
Numerous studies have proven that customer reviews or testimonials are one of the most effective tools for conversion optimization. However, there is still a question every business owner faces. How should I respond to negative social media comments? Negative reviews on social media can be handled in two ways: you can ignore them or you can deal with them appropriately. The latter is not only honest and proactive but also increases your opportunity for customer retention and acquisition. Your brand’s social media presence will often play a key role in these conversations, so here’s how you should handle negative feedback:
Develop a Public Social Media Policy
If you have been blogging and/or running a website business for a while, then you might have noticed that people are not as nice online as they are offline when it comes to commenting on your content. You may have even experienced what happens if you do not have policies and check on the comments your readers leave. From flaming or hate speech to spam, nasty comments can make your online experience unpleasant for yourself and your readers. This too applies to your brand’s social media. Be transparent about your posting policy in the “About” section and state the consequences of violating them.
Tap into Social Listening
Feedback is crucial to the evolution of your company and a valuable source of information, but it’s often forgotten. Customers don’t always take the time to directly go on your social media platforms and leave you a review. Sometimes they are too busy or just forget to do, but don’t worry! There are tools you can use that will monitor all mentions of your brand across the many social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Google+, and YouTube, and notify you instantly. Staying up to date with any customer feedback that may be out there will help you reach a new level in terms of customer satisfaction.
Most businesses ignore negative feedback, delete it or worse, block the critic from posting further comments. Do not do this for your business. Feedback is useless if it’s not acted upon. If a customer has taken the time to provide you with information about their dissatisfaction with your business, then it would be unwise to ignore it or sweep it under the rug. Instead of ignoring the feedback, pinpoint what needs to be done to correct the situation. The fastest way to the solution is by taking action. Your customers and clients are watching you, waiting to see how you will react to negatives in general and especially on social media where negative criticism is more likely to take place.
Respond Publicly in a Polite Manner
Finally, you can try to turn a negative into a positive. A bad response to negative feedback can trigger other customer complaints, so make sure you have a documented process to manage complaints. If you feel that the feedback is justified but doesn't correlate with your brand standards, a great way to respond to it would be to show how you have improved on the particular element mentioned in the feedback and tag the customer in public comments. This will encourage them to improve their experience or take ownership of the product. You do not need to address every piece of feedback publicly, just those which are valid and impactful. You can also use this approach when dealing with online reviews on review sites like Yelp.
Negative feedback is something that all businesses deal with at some point in time. Even if you have a flawless business you will still likely receive complaints and feedback from customers. The trick is to anticipate this and make sure you are prepared to handle it when it occurs. Whether true or not, useful or not, you need to acknowledge people's feedback. It shows that you have taken the time to read what they have to say, and that even if you're not going to act on the complaint, at least you have listened to them and heard their point of view. Responding also gives you a chance to show empathy, which is important for mending relationships with customers who might otherwise be less than positive about your brand.