How To Address Negative Feedback on Social Media
Posting for your business on social media is standing operating procedures these days. According to eMarketer, among US businesses with at least 100 employees, 87% used social media for marketing in 2016, with 88% scheduled to so in 2017. But many of them face multiple challenges or have not felt the benefits of posting.
While there are numerous companies that do not measure their efforts, there are countless others that have the daily challenge of negative posts and their effects to their reputation and bottom line.
Some businesses may not be utilizing social media because of a concern for negative feedback or comments. That may keep them from commenting on their Facebook page, but with sites such as Yelp, it is incredibly easy for consumers to discuss and review your brand.
Even with the best intention and the strongest customer service, negative feedback may be given about an interaction with your company. It is very important to know how to respond to it.
In 2014, Social Media Marketing University (SMMU) found that fewer than half of United States companies had an effective plan in place for dealing with negative posts on social media sites. One-quarter did not have a plan but were working on one, and nearly one-quarter more had no plan—and no plan for a plan.
Not having a plan in place does not mean marketers are ignoring negative posts. While around 1 in 5 rarely or never responded to negative social buzz, most marketers did. A similar percentage responded to a negative posting within 1 hour, and an additional 52% replied to posts within 24 hours.
If you do receive negative feedback on social media you must acknowledge and respond. Ignoring it does not make it go away and deleting it, if you are even able to do so, is an even worse response. You should only delete negative feedback in certain circumstances, such as when it involves lewd comments or inappropriate language. The person who originally wrote the comment will see that it has been deleted, and nothing will prevent him or her from posting another, even more irate comment which will now include that you have attempted to censor them. This will make a bad situation much worse.
The Retail Consumer Report found that 68% of consumers who posted negative feedback received a response from the relevant business. Of that number, 18% of consumers who posted negative feedback were converted into loyal customers and 33 percent eventually posted positive feedback. Furthermore, 34% of consumers who had originally posted negative feedback later deleted that post following a response.
When handled properly, even negative feedback can actually prove to be a beneficial tool for developing loyalty from your customers.
So what should you do?
Respond Within 10 Minutes
How fast you respond is as important as your response to the post. Many of those expect a response and are watching to see it arrive within an hour of hitting send. Some even want to see it faster than that.
Provide Additional Information
There is no set script for how to respond to a negative comment, nor should their be. If your flowered see the same comment repeated over and over, they will be disappointed and will express it in words and actions. You need to provide an answer that is sincere and honest. Own up to it if the customer’s bad experience was the company’s fault. You should also offer a genuine apology and provide a solution. Do not engage in a debate in anyway. It will only end badly.
Know What Is Being Said About Your Business
You need to set up reputation management alerts for your business for all sites that comments can be left for you. This way, you will know immediately when a comment, positive or negative, has been made. You should also run a periodic Google search so you can see all of the places your business is mentioned.
Don’t Take It Personally
Try to view such negative feedback as constructive criticism and an opportunity to improve your operations. If you feel that the customer is wrong, do not hesitate to defend your business, but make sure that you do it in a polite way. In some instances, the truth of the matter may fall somewhere in the middle. When this is the case, it is important to apologize for any error that is on your part while also gently correcting any misinformation on the part of the customer. At this point, it is also usually best to take the conversation offline and continue it with the customer in private.