Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media …
Everything you do is your brand. That includes what you post, how you interact with other people online, and how you deal with negative comments on social media.
Interacting with your customers can be fun and informative, and it can build great relationships. There are times, though, when you’re faced with complaints, angry comments, or in the worst cases, abuse.
9 Rules for Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media
- Stay calm. Don’t bite at rude comments, unfair criticism, or abuse. Other customers are watching how you react.
- Respond quickly. Waiting for hours or days on end will simply add fuel to the fire and make a person feel ignored. Thank them for contacting you.
- Be polite. Do this even if they aren’t. Respond respectfully and try to find out more information.
- Take the discussion offline as soon as you can. Give your customer an email address, or get theirs, to find out more about the complaint or negative comment. You can both comment more freely out of the public eye.
- Be objective. Is the complaint valid? Try not to be defensive. Let them talk. Sometimes people just need to be heard. Other times, their complaint may alert you to a problem in your own practices.
- Ask them what they would like you to do. You may not be able to give them everything they want, but get a clear idea of what you need to do to resolve the problem.
- Resolve. Can you help them? Do so if you can, even if it’s not strictly necessary. Do it as a matter of goodwill which your awkward customer will hopefully recognise and comment on in the future.
- Leave a positive comment. If the complaint is resolved to your customer’s satisfaction, they may decide to tell people that on social media. That’s your ultimate goal - to turn critics into brand ambassadors. Reply and tell them it’s a pleasure! If they praise your customer service, why not share that on social media?
- Only remove comment as a last resort. If all of the previous eight steps get you nowhere and you’re left with an unsatisfactory outcome, think long and hard before simply removing complaint comments from your channels. Other people notice that and feel it’s censorship. How damaging is the complaint? Is it a problem legally? Weigh all of this up before you act.
Follow these nine rules and you should be able to turn a negative situation into a positive. Don’t forget that if comments are abusive or threatening, you shouldn’t have to put up with that. Consider blocking the sender. In more serious cases, don’t be afraid to report this abuse to the administrators or even the authorities.