6 Steps to Dealing with Negative Social Media Comments
Negative social media comments are something which most businesses will have to tackle at one stage or another. Negative social media comments can come from a genuinely unhappy customer, a customer who is trying to get a freebie or just a spammer. Whoever it has come from, all negative social media comments need to be dealt with and no, deleting them is not dealing with them.
The thought of receiving negative social media comments is something which can often put businesses of creating social media accounts at all. You should not be scared of receiving comments from customers, instead you need to see it as a business opportunity. Businesses need feedback in order to grow, whether that feedback is good or bad is irrelevant, if you are receiving no comments this can be just as bad as receiving negative social media comments. Here’s the 6 stages of dealing with negative social media comments so that you will know how to react in the future.
Step 1: Address the Situation
Customers hate to be ignored, period. If a customer has commented negatively on a post or photo which you have shared then they expect a response. There are many businesses out there who chose to delete these comments which is probably the worst thing which you can do. A deleted comment will only make the customer angrier, this can lead them to comment on multiple posts, try and contact you on your other social media platforms or leave a slanderous review on one of the many review sites which are out there.
Addressing the situation correctly is vital. The customer wants to feel like you understand their problem with your product or service so empathy is key. Treat the customer how you would wanted to be treated in that situation – yes, I know how ‘playground’ this sounds but it really is essential that they feel like you care and are there to help.
Step 2: Ask For an Explanation
Once you’ve addressed the comment the next step is to understand why the customer has a problem with your company. They may have mentioned this is their first comment but if they haven’t then you need to ask, there’s no way to can try to solve the problem without knowing what you’ve done to make them so angry.
There are two options to this step, you can either ask them for an explanation in response to their comment which will be public on your social media page or choose to take this off social media by giving the customer an email address or phone number which they can contact you directly on. Ideally you’ll want to choose the latter of the two, taking the conversation offline will allow you to understand exactly what’s happening while saving face on your business social media post. By keeping it online, other customers may see your conversation and start to comment or the conversation may get out of control.
Step 3: Don’t be Defensive
Once you’ve found out the customers problem, you can start to solve it. Even if this is not directly your fault or even your company’s fault, you cannot be defensive and pass the blame to someone else. The customer is always right – even when they’re wrong – so you need to come up with a solution as to how you are going to solve this problem and make the customer happy.
Step 4: Own Up
If this is your fault then own up to your error. Customers know when a business is lying to them so own up and accept that you have done wrong. Everybody makes mistakes and this only makes you human, a customer would prefer that you own up because it’ll show that you are being sincere with them.
Step 5: Offer an Incentive
To solve a customer complaint you are going to need to offer an incentive. For example, if they have ordered a sofa from you and it is damaged then offer them a replacement. Customers complain about many things though including customer service and staff. If the problem is with the customer service which they received then you may choose to offer them a discount on their next purchase, a sincere apology or just the fact that you have noted the problem and will talk to the relevant members of staff will be enough.
Offering an incentive doesn’t always mean you have to give away free products or services. You need think about what the customers actually wants from this process, why have they commented in the first place and what can you do to ensure that they choose you over other competitors in the future.
Step 6: Be Proactive
Negative social media comments are not something which you can predict but if you notice that your product or service is lacking at the moment then don’t wait for the comments to come flooding in, make changes and improve your business. Many customers only post negative comments if they are genuinely upset or disappointed with a company so improving your business will leave them with nothing to say.
All businesses whether they are multi-million pound brands or small businesses will receive negative social media comments at some point in their existence. The key thing to remember is that you should not ignore your customers under any circumstances. Customers choose to use social media over other forms of communication because it allows for a quick response time. Without customers, a business is nothing so listen to them and improve. Constructive criticism is invaluable to any business and will only help you to get better in the future.