When your business makes the smart decision to invest in social media as a tool for digital marketing and customer service, you’re also making the choice to open yourself up to praise and criticism. While praise is easy to handle, criticism proves much more challenging.
Do you know how to handle negative feedback in a graceful and appropriate manner?
- Own Up to Your Mistakes
No business is perfect. In fact, even the most successful businesses in the world have made mistakes along the way. However, what sets them apart is the fact that they’re willing and able to own up to their mistakes.
In the social media era, this is especially important. Mistakes – and the complaints stemming from these blunders – are extremely visible. A failure to respond won’t look good on your part.
“Never ignore a legitimate complaint,” says marketer Jon Fesmire. “It’s in your company’s best interest to solve the problem and to learn from it. This will remove or at least make that problem less frequent in the future, will help to repair your relationship with the customer, and show your professionalism to the public.”
- Think Before Responding
While you certainly need to own up to your mistakes, it’s wise to think before you respond. Typing up a rash response may come back to hurt you. As a rule of thumb, if there’s a negative message that bothers you, walk away for three to five minutes and then come back. This will help you decompress and remove some of the emotion from the situation.
Any time you type up a response to a negative comment or message, it’s a good idea to have a second set of eyes look it over before hitting the “post” button. Even if you mean well, it’s easy for a single word or phrase to be misconstrued. As they say, better safe than sorry!
- Avoid Automated Messages
From a user’s perspective, receiving an automated message in response to a complaint or feedback is pretty frustrating. It makes you feel like your voice isn’t being heard. While there are times when it’s appropriate and effective to automate your social presence, this is not one of those times.
“If your social media is entirely or mostly automated, then your business is missing the entire point of having a social media presence in the first place,” digital marketing expert Jonathan Crossfield explains. “Social media is a conversation. It takes two to be social, after all.” You should provide original responses to original feedback.
- Never Delete Comments
If there’s one thing worse than ignoring a comment, it’s deleting the comment. But for some reason, there are still plenty of businesses that will actually delete negative feedback in an attempt to clean up their online presence. This is a huge mistake.
When a user posts negative feedback, they’re already perturbed. When they notice that you deleted their comment, they become furious. Not only will they try to post again (and again), but they’ll also tell others about their experience. This isn’t a good look for your business.
Have a Strategy for Negative Feedback
If you’re going to launch a social media strategy, you must have a plan in place. The worst thing you can do is take a “figure it out as we go” approach. When negative feedback arises, you have to take swift action and diffuse the problem before it becomes even bigger.
A well-developed strategy will allow you to handle any issue in a calculated and concerted manner that reflects well on your brand.