Your business’s social media pages serve as your outlet to showcase your brand personality and interact with your followers. Nowadays, it comes as no surprise that these platforms are also the first places any angry or dissatisfied customers will come to vent about their experience with your business. In fact, social media complainers have managed to make this a new “area” in which brands shell out thousands of dollars every year to their “vocal” customers!
No matter the issue, there is a right and wrong way to handle your customers’ negativity on social media. While bigger companies have a whole team of people focused on replying to their social channels’ comments, you may be the one handling these communications. That’s why this post is dedicated to tips on how to handle negative comments while keeping your brand’s personality strong.
Timing is Everything
This point is first for a reason – it’s the most important of these tips. Even though bigger, well-established brands have people monitoring their channels around the clock, you may not have that capability.
To start, try replying to any comment, negative or positive, on social media within an hour. Keep in mind, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to answer their questions within this timespan. Most of the time, customers just want you to acknowledge their post as soon as possible so they know you‘re looking into the issue. If you can, let them know when they should expect an answer or update.
Personalize Your Responses
Nothing is worse than seeing automated, cookie-cutter responses to customers who are reaching out to a brand on social media. Automated replies look like you have no time for them and don’t value their input.
Make every response to a post personalized and tailored to each person’s question/comment. Copying and pasting the same message every time could save you time, but they will make your brand look impersonal and “robotic.”
Own Up to Your Mistakes
Guess what: you’re human and mistakes will happen. Even though you’re communicating with customers through technology, this doesn’t mean you can dehumanize your communication. People know that no business is 100% perfect, so own up to the mistakes instead of hiding from them. By taking ownership of the mistake, it prevents the customer from continuing to point fingers at you while allowing you to work on a solution.
When you apologize on a social media post, it needs to be genuine and written in your brand’s voice. Remember this: it may take time to build brand trust, but it only takes seconds to lose it.
Resolve the Issue Offline
Social media isn’t always the best place to resolve more complex problems, since it’s public and some information could be sensitive. Depending on the problem, it might be best to continue the conversation either through email, private message or a phone call. This isn’t to try and take negativity off of your page, but like the rest of your customer service procedures, it might make sense to do it through an appropriate outlet rather than going back and forth through a post.
If you do go off of social media to handle troubleshooting, do not delete the negative post! It is far better for your audience to see how you handle negative comments than deal with messages or more public posts accusing you of removing your negative social media comments.
Follow Up with Them
Once the issue at hand has been resolved, follow up with the customer on social media a few days later to ensure you‘ve met their needs. This personal approach lets your audience know you value their needs, and it’s also a great way to get feedback about your customer service and products/services.
As long as you stay honest, genuine and transparent with your brand’s negative social media posts, you will build a reputable and helpful social media image to your audience.
For more advice on social media etiquette, contact GreenMellen today!