Generally, when handling negative comments on social media the goal is to defuse; the best way to put out a fire is to deprive it of air.
Monitor your social media channels and respond promptly.
If negative feedback about you appears on social media, address it sooner rather than later. Silence is NOT an acceptable response.
Recognize what type of negative feedback you are dealing with
This can be a valuable tool to help you grow your business.
“Thank you for the feedback. We’ll review your suggestion with our implementation team.”
A legitimate complaint about a shortcoming or error made by your company
Own it. Apologize for the problem, explain what you’ve done to avoid it in the future, and offer to continue the conversation in private.
“It must have been frustrating looking for a toaster only to find them in the cosmetics area. Unfortunately, our electrical system requires this arrangement so we’ve added signage in the appliance area explaining the location of the toasters.”
A baseless complaint
Respond politely and offer to continue the conversation in private.
“I’m sorry you had an unpleasant experience when dining with us. We’d like to talk about how we could improve, please give us a call at 1-800-555-5555.”
An abusive or nonsensical complaint or comment
Use the the platform’s built-in tools to report the behavior and distance your brand from the inappropriate behavior. Again, a prompt response is key.
Do not fight in the street.
There is no winning, the moment your brand engages in a fight it is tainted. Again, your job is to defuse the situation, not to win.
Thank the person for reaching out to you.
“We always like to hear from our customers so we can improve how we serve them. Thank you for reaching out to us.”
Things to Avoid
Worst responses are confrontational. In social media, polite is always better than right.
To manage negative comments you need to be actively engaged with social media. Not having social media channels doesn’t prevent negative feedback, it just means you never see it (and never get to respond to it). Having social media channels that you do not manage and monitor allows negative feedback to gather and grow.
If you actively engage in social media and promptly defuse negative feedback, two things will happen:
- you will have a beneficial ratio of positive activity to negative feedback
- promptly addressed negative feedback goes from being a detriment to an asset
You want your customers to say, “Look at all the great stuff they have going on AND how well they handle problems when they arise.”