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How-Tu Tuesday: Responding to Negativity Online

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

August 25th 2015

Turning unhappy customers into satisfied customers is one of the most important skills a marketer can possess, especially when the negativity occurs on social media, as any complaints posted are made visible to your followers and potential new customers.

Brands should not wait for a crisis to happen on social media and then react; they should be prepared and have a procedure in place to handle the situation in the best way possible. Check out our top 5 tips for dealing with a crisis via the various social media channels:

  1. Don’t panic!

Although it is never nice to read negative comments about your company or to hear that one of your customers has had a less than satisfying experience, companies should see a negative comment as an opportunity to both retain that customer and gain new customers by letting them see how well you deal with the situation and the value that you place on good customer service. Always respond in a calm and polite manner and remember that your followers and those viewing your profile can see your response.

  1. Never Ignore, Always Respond

The worst, but often the most common mistake that brands make regarding complaints on social media, is ignoring the post or deleting it. However, this only makes the situation between you and the customer more hostile and can lead to the customer venting their frustrations via other social platforms, which you have no control over. Always acknowledge the comment in some way, even if it is a holding response until you have more information that will help the customer.

  1. Monitor Conversations

Social media networks have become a 24/7 stream of conversation that continually needs refreshed and monitored. Depending on how busy your account is, posts published by your followers can easily get lost in your feed. To ensure comments of both a positive and negative nature are always responded to and acknowledged, companies should manage their accounts via platforms such as Hootsuite and Sproutsocial. This will highlight when someone is trying to contact the company via one of the social channels and will allow you to monitor all conversations and send a response from the same dashboard.

  1. Train Employees

Ensure that those responsible for managing the social accounts are aware of the company’s procedure for dealing with negative comments. It is also important that this responsibility is not given to just one person as it is likely that when a negative situation does have to be dealt with, that person is either on holiday or off sick.

  1. Take It Offline

Social media is an extremely effective tool for reaching your audience and communicating your brand message, but not everything should be dealt with using social channels. As noted, when negative comments are dealt with effectively, it can boost customer service and the company’s reputation, but brands must also recognise when it is time for a conversation to be taken offline and dealt with via a phone call or email. Some customers may not want to compromise or become aggressive and it can be more damaging for the brand to go back and forth with someone who is not going to back down. Similarly, if any personal or confidential information needs to be exchanged, the conversation should be taken offline and dealt with in the correct manner.

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