5 Tips for Handling Negative Feedback on Social Media
Social media has made it easier than ever to receive customer feedback. Unfortunately, that means it’s also easier for disgruntled customers to air their complaints for everyone to see. Receiving negative feedback is never pleasant, whether on- or off-line, but the sheer nature of social media can quickly cause a single comment or post to escalate into a total PR disaster. Here are five tips for handling negative feedback on social media.
As a proud business owner, you can be forgiven for taking negative feedback personally. But while it may upset you, it's important to not respond in an emotionally-charged manner. Allow yourself to feel those initial reactions, then take a moment to look at the feedback objectively. Does the customer have a valid point? How can this feedback help improve your business operations? Is there an opportunity to turn this into something positive? Only formulate your response once it comes from a place of understanding and a willingness to resolve the issue.
Acknowledge their opinion
More often than not, customers want to feel as though their voice is heard - and that you take it seriously. Being dismissive of their feedback tells them that you don't value their opinion or support as a customer. Remember, they have taken the time to support your business and offer feedback which can shed light on potential areas of improvement. This is why it's important to thank them for their feedback and acknowledge their opinion before making any counters or offering solutions.
Offer a solution
As far as possible, try to offer a solution to the customer's problem. For example, if your product didn't live up to expectations, offer to provide a refund or exchange. Or if they had an unpleasant experience with a staff member, promise to take it up internally to ensure it doesn't happen again. In addition to fixing things with the customer concerned, other customers will also see your attempt to reach a resolution. Reading negative feedback can be very off-putting for potential customers, but seeing that you care about making reparations can help re-earn their trust.
Reaffirm any positive points
Are there any positive points within the comment or post? Is your business taking any positive strides to address the issue at hand? If so, try to include this within your response. When it comes to online channels, two negatives do not make a positive. It is often up to you as the business owner or social media manager to diffuse tensions and turn the situation around for the better. Granted, this is easier said than done, but it's hardly possible for complainants to deny any factual positive aspects. Sometimes, depending on your brand personality, it may even pay off to bring in a touch of humour. Just take care not to come off as being sarcastic or unprofessional.
Take it offline
Last but by no means least, take it offline. Unless it is a small issue that can be resolved on the spot, it's best to continue the conversation away from social media. Ask the customer for their contact details, and follow through with contacting them. Speaking one-on-one can help increase your chances of reaching an amicable outcome. But if not, at least there isn't an open thread for third parties to see and partake in.
With that said, there are no clear-cut steps for handling negative feedback on social media. Mainly, it is important to respond in a manner that is appropriate for each particular complaint or situation.
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