Handle Social Media Negativity Effectively

Having social media accounts for your business or brand means that it’s pretty much inevitable to expect some negative feedback at some point. How you decide to deal with social media disputes is a big part of how your brand is portrayed online. Here are some top tips for managing social media complaints.

Respond to complaints quickly and publicly

When someone has gone to the effort of leaving feedback about your product or service, acknowledge them publicly. A gracious response to positive comments on your social media is lovely. But dealing with problems openly and honestly will supercharge your brand’s credibility.

Only ever offer to discuss problems privately, don’t insist on it, but do avoid using your customers’ personal or identifying details. Being flexible about keeping things out in the open means the person posting feels heard, and shows the audience what your brand is like to do business with. Transparency is often interpreted as honesty.

Offering solutions to social media complaints

A generic ‘sorry’ usually won’t cut it, whereas finding a specific way to solve the specific is at least a good starting point. Brace yourself, though. The solution you offer to the irate social media user might not be good enough.

When trying to salvage a poor customer experience, always go for the ‘with bells on’ approach. It means acknowledging the complaint, empathising deeply, offer the solution, and something else by way of apology. In real terms: I hear you, I’m sorry for you, we’ll send you another one now, and we’ll refund 10%, too.

Saying sorry doesn’t mean accepting blame

The highly visible nature of social media means that some businesses blunder into trouble with their apologies. Always offer a heartfelt and sincere apology when the business is to blame, but be more careful with wording if it’s out of your control.

For example, you can still promise to take action, and offer something for the inconvenience, but don’t burden your brand with responsibility for the weather!

How to handle internet trolls as a business

The way that your brand interacts with trolls does require some delicacy. The open nature of the internet means that sometimes it’s not clear who has a legitimate concern, and who’s just looking to cause trouble.

As a general rule, don’t feed the trolls. If you can see that person leaves abusive feedback but has never previously dealt with your business, then point that out. Remember, be polite! Anything else discredits you, and encourages them to keep on at you. If a post looks like spam, such as a link to a dodgy site, then delete it.

Be calm, flexible, and kind on social media

The tone of voice that a business uses to talk to its customers is part of its brand. In the age of digital communications, making sure that the tone is interpreted correctly is even more important. These days we often have to manage without the physical tone, or cues from body language, to help us process information.

Always be polite, and never overlook an opportunity to do so.

There’s a big difference between:

“Yep, sending another one today”

Versus

“I’m so sorry to hear that happened to you. We will send another unit out to you today with a first class courier, and refund 10% immediately. If you need anything at all, just let me know and I’ll do all I can to help.”

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