Managing a brand on social media, marketers should remember that every criticism offers an opportunity for growth and improvement. Remember the famous story of the pizza chain Domino’s, which enjoyed one of the largest quarterly store sale jumps ever by actively responding to customer negative feedback? Running profiles on social media, it’s inevitable that you’ll receive public and private messages from irritated or annoyed customers, so it’s in your best interest to learn how to deal with them. Here are 5 effective strategies for approaching unhappy clients on social media.
Provide a quick response
The real-time nature of Twitter holds a great influence over the expectations of online audiences in brand communication – one study claims that 53% of consumers who tweet a brand expect a response within an hour.
If the tweet in question is a complaint, the figure rises to a 72%! Whether it’s Twitter or any other social network, your response time is very important. To avoid social media disasters, always track it and never leave tweets sent to you without a response.
Be transparent and honest
The best policy for replying to negative comments is being honest and transparent. This is something the online community appreciates, so make sure your responses are publicly visible. Leaving a comment like “I’m looking forward to helping you. Could you send me more details in a message?”, you’re showing to your audience that the problem will be taken care of.
When the issue is solved, you should always publicly follow up. Here’s an example of a great follow-up message – “Thanks so much for letting us know. I hope the problem has been solved for you?”.
Never lose your calm
As a brand you’ll be the one to set the tone over every social conversation. If you appear angry or irritated in your messaging, prepare for a social backlash – you’re just asking yourself to be attacked by people who lurk around the web looking for opportunities for igniting an emotional response. Don’t give them the satisfaction and never take things personally – be calm and collected, remembering that no conversation on social media is private.
Don’t just apologize, but offer a solution
Dealing with a negative comment, you’ll jump into an apologetic mode. Apologizing for the consumer’s bad experience with your product is just the beginning, but many brands mistakenly believe that apologizing publicly will solve the problem. The truth is that every apology should be followed by a solution – provided not necessarily in public.
Reacting to a negative comment, brands can show that they value the opinion of their customers and are ready to implement solutions that will fix their problems or introduce improvements to their product.
Don’t delete negative comments
If you start to remove negative comments posted in your stream, users will sooner or later notice this and criticize you for that. Dissatisfied customers will become even more frustrated and might direct their conversation somewhere else, where you won’t be able to speak up for yourself.
When brands delete negative comments, they’re inviting others to question their integrity, forgetting that online communities remember every little social media foul-up. Feel free to remove comments with inappropriate language or content, and block users who leave such messages – the rest should be solved as soon as possible.
Negative feedback displayed in a brand’s public stream makes many marketers nervous, but the truth is that, rather than weakening a brand and exposing it to consumer criticism, a well-handled problem will only make the brand seem stronger and more trustworthy to the online community.
About the Author
Monique Craig is an Australian blogger and marketing specialist who works for Oneflare, an online marketplace which connects customers with local service providers.