Negative comments in a public sphere do not immediately seem like a positive thing for a company. But by using the right response strategy, it’s possible to address online complaints effectively and productively.
1. Be Patient
When complaints come up, it can be easy for you to lose your patience with your customers. They frequently view situations differently from the way you view them, so it can be difficult to accept complaints and criticism. Still, customer service is a vital part of doing business, and the social media sphere is a great place to promote your company’s appreciation for the customer. Be patient with complaints and do what you can to address them.
2. Answer No Matter What
When using social media sites, it is absolutely vital for your company to be social. That means acknowledging and responding to complaints of all types. Unless you are a major company that gets hundreds of negative comments on your social media feeds every day, you should work to address every complaint that comes up among your social media followers. Even if the complaints seem unreasonable to you, you should work to satisfy the customer.
3. Contact Them Privately
In dealing with people who are upset on your social media pages, it is best to contact them privately, in addition to any public response you may post.
In your private messages, you should keep in mind that reacting in a negative way will likely cause the individual to post your message in a public setting, making your issue even worse. In order to avoid that, make sure you are consistent in your public and private messages, but try to get into more specifics with the customer in private. That can help you minimize the attention given to the issue and also help your company provide a satisfactory solution.
4. Respond to the Original Post
On the social media page, you should always post some type of response to the initial message. Sometimes your response can be straightforward, acknowledging the individual’s complaints and asserting your company’s dedication to high-quality customer service. Sometimes, it may be appropriate to a bit more light-hearted with your response, such as by humbly addressing the mistake with some type of self-deprecating joke. In cases in which you feel the general public would probably view the complaint as unreasonable, you can even poke fun at the original post, although you should be very careful not to offend users with your response.
5. Let the Community Respond with Complaints
When you post a response, you should also expect other members of the community to chime in with their own messages. This can be a good way to turn a negative situation into a positive. Even if other users respond with more complaints, you can work with the group to identify suitable solutions to their issues, and you can demonstrate your company’s commitment to customer service.
6. Remove as a Last Resort
Of course, you should always keep in mind that your social media page is your domain. If things get out of hand, you can remove posts from disgruntled Facebook followers.
This option should be used as a last resort. Removing posts when they present reasonable complaints is not a good idea because it tells followers that your social media page is not a truly authentic forum. With social media, you sometimes need to take the bad with the good.
That said, it is also important to maintain a respectful atmosphere on your social media boards, so it makes sense to take down posts that involve inappropriate material.