The explosion of social media over the past 10 years has been paramount to the success of many brands, as well as offering a fantastic platform for small businesses to connect with their audience on a local and even global level. However, as these are unmoderated spaces, it’s understandable that you might be nervous about customers leaving negative feedback or having to engage in a difficult conversation, in what is a very public arena.
Sometimes it can be difficult, just as having the conversation in person would be equally as challenging. But it is always better to be part of the conversation and have the opportunity to turn it around. If you can handle it well, you may not only save yourself a customer but also prove your character to a much wider audience.
For an independent or local business, customer reviews are key, and customers are likely to leave them across a variety of social media channels. Dealing with them quickly and efficiently is really important, and you shouldn’t let one or two negative experiences mar what can be a fantastic way of connecting with your customers.
Here are our guidelines for how to manage negative feedback on social media:
1. Keep calm and don’t respond impulsively
It’s hard not to take it personally, especially for a small business, but so many negative comments are posted without much thought for how they will be received the other end. Take your time and think about how best to reply before composing your message. Run it by someone else if you can.
2. Remain professional
Remember that you are posting on behalf of your company and not as yourself. Use professional language and offer the same level of professional courtesy you would if you were having the conversation face to face.
3. Humanise the situation
It’s easier for someone to leave a negative review online because it lacks personal interaction. In a heated situation, it can help to remind that person that there is a real-life human being behind your company’s Facebook or Twitter logo. Try switching your language to the 1st person and signing off your response with your own name, e.g. ‘I’m so sorry to hear about your recent experience and would like to help.. All the best, Joe’.
4. Take the conversation offline
If the issue is a genuine complaint, then steer the conversation away from social media. It’s very hard to properly understand someone’s situation via a series of social media posts, and continuing with the conversation online will just draw attention to it. Offer an alternative method of contact, e.g. ‘Please do give me a call on xxx so that we can discuss this further’.
5. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
Most of the time, people just want to feel heard. They take to social media to vent a grievance, often without expecting a reply. So make sure you do reply! Show that you’re listening and that you care. Often you can turn around a mildly negative comment into a really positive customer interaction.
Even with these guidelines, we understand that social media can be a little daunting. At Kemp Marketing we have a wealth of experience dealing with all aspects of social media management and would be happy to discuss any queries you might have. Please feel free to get in touch with a member of the team on 01737 333195 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.