Have you ever been the target of a negative comment on social media or the recipient of a review that’s less than stellar? If so, you’re not alone. Many small businesses are encountering this problem, especially considering how many customers currently use social platforms to voice their opinions.
Since you can’t simply delete negative comments on social media, though, you’ve got to focus on what you can do: Respond to them effectively. Read on for six helpful tips.
6 Social Media Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews
1. Understand the Comment
Customers posting negative comments on social media tend to ramble. It might take you a few minutes to scan through a given comment to mine the essential grievance. Take some time to find out exactly what your customers are dissatisfied with — because you can’t come up with a resolution until you do.
2. Respond Quickly
If you aren’t personally responsible for monitoring your social media accounts, make sure someone in your organization is charged with the task. Negative comments hanging out there with no response can quickly damage your brand. The ultimate goal should be to respond in one business day or less, as long as you can do so professionally.
3. Never Respond With a Negative Comment
If a comment or review is especially derogatory, it’s only natural for you to want to defend your brand by instinctively adopting the same tone. However, dropping down to a negative level is not going to produce positive results. In fact, it’s only going to make you look insensitive, regardless of whether or not it’s justified.
No matter how you decide to address each issue, keep tact and respect on your radar at all times.
4. Explicitly Ask Customers What They Want
This is a step that many businesses fail to take when responding to negative comments. There’s nothing wrong with coming out and expressly asking dissatisfied clients what they’re after. In a lot of cases, there’s no refund or monetary investment involved — customers just want to know their comments were received and had a positive effect.
5. Don’t Delete Them
The last thing you want to do is delete comments or reviews that shine a negative light on your business. Think about it from a consumer’s perspective. If you check out a retailer’s Facebook page and find 100 comments that are nothing but positive, you might get a little suspicious.
Instead, leave the bad comments there, but be sure to craft stellar responses to all of them. This way your current customers — and any potential new ones — know you’re serious about providing high-quality customer service.
6. Go Over the Top
If you run a solid operation, you probably don’t get an overwhelming number of negative reviews over social media. Because of that, feel free to overcompensate when you do. For example, if you ship an order incorrectly, refund the full amount plus return shipping charges and an additional 10% of the purchase price — and mention that you did so in your thread.
If your customers just want to be heard, throw them a modest gift card as a gesture of goodwill. This is a great marketing opportunity for your business as it shows you’re willing to do whatever it takes to correct any errors.
In general, to avoid negative comments on social media, you should review, and if necessary, revamp your customer service policies. Monitor your team in action, conduct meetings devoted solely to customer service, and make sure your entire staff is well-trained.
Properly responding to negative comments on social media is important, but doing what you can to reduce them is equally essential.
What other strategies do you know of for effectively responding to negative comments on social media?
Mark Lindsey is a writer and marketing executive with over 20 years of experience working in the industry. He contributes to several digital and print publications on topics related to work and life. He lives in New York.