What happens when a brand bestie gets their knickers in a twist and takes to social media to slate your business?
You respond with good intent, but know that when you do, one of these three things will happen:
1. You’ll exasperate the situation
2. You’ll be forced into a social media smackdown
3. You will resolve the situation amicably
Obviously, the third is the result you want, but unfortunately, it’s easy to go in a different direction because…
The pressure is on
Not everyone is able to work under pressure so when those who don’t thrive in a pressure cooker of an environment are managing a company social profile, it’s easy for a few things to go wrong.
How the conversation goes downhill quickly
Never think it’s clever to put on an engaging competition to bury negative comments down your page. One customer is all it takes. Ignore them, every other follower sees your reaction and will go on their merry way.
Don’t ignore the problem.
There are many brands that monitor their businesses social media accounts for brand mentions as a way to stay on top of PR and keep their customers happy. Addressing negativity promptly is the purpose the company sets out to do.
Then something unexpected comes up on the feed, so with no idea how to respond, a quick look around to see if anyone’s looking… all clear, click delete and it never happened. Leave it for someone else to pick up the slack.
That’s worse than ignoring it, before you’re doing the same as taking a complaint letter, tearing it up and throwing it in the trash.
Never delete a negative comment because it will resurface with vengeance. Keep even the most harmful posts on your social media accounts to show others how you deal with customer complaints.
That should not be just a humble approach of “so sorry you feel that way” especially if that’s accompanied with telling the customer they are the exception to your customer satisfaction. We’re sorry you feel that way. 99% of our customers are satisfied. Call customer services. Huge NO!
Every customer matters and here’s how to address them
The same as you would in your office, or shop floor. It is not a negative press problem so put on your best customer service hat and take it from the top. Nobody posts negativity for nothing. They’re cheesed off about something. Find out what exactly the problem is as without knowing that you cannot resolve it.
You need to always listen, which on social media means reading the wording and asking for clarification because miscommunication happens.
Without knowing the exact problem a customer is having, you will not get a satisfactory result.
The only way is to apologise and let the customer know they are being listened too.
Customer: Can’t access account. Website’s down
Company: Website’s working fine now.
What just happened?
Was the site checked using Chrome, IE, mobile browser compatibility testers? Or was it just a case of – I’m on it so it must be working. Did the rep even check to see if any problems were reported?
A better response: Website working on most browsers. What browser are you using? Have you tried clearing cache? DM and we’ll work on a fix (Or PM if it’s Facebook).
Negativity on any social media platform is just a customer services issue.
Treat the situation the same as you would as face-to-face. Apologise for the situation and offer a solution. An apology without a solution is the equivalent of saying we hear you, but to be honest, we really don’t care.
Apology + solution = customer satisfaction and that’s a good example to leave visible on your timeline to show your company do indeed listen to fans/followers and resolve issues promptly.
More customers are finding it easier to deal with businesses on social media and actually prefer that over calling business lines, which usually requires listening to an automated recording and then pressing three or something for customer services. By the time it reaches social media, it’s already negative with the length of time spent trying to reach someone real, and based in the UK, as opposed to outsourced call centres in India.
Consumers are using social media for customer service issues, so if you don’t’ already have account handlers/administrators in place to take care of your customers, now would be a good time to consider a social media account manager who knows the importance of customer service.