As positive as social media can be for businesses, it also allows customers to say anything at anytime about your company, and for anyone to see. This can not only do damage to your company image, it can send owners and employees into emotional tailspins. Our advice is to avoid getting caught up in social media fire storms by being prepared and taking corrective action against negative customer comments.
Keep Your Cool
Your company is your baby, so it’s not unreasonable to become defensive when someone posts a negative comment. But, no matter how outrageous the comment is, you should keep your cool. After all, the customer is always right (even when their not). Try not to take every comment on social media personally. Instead of reacting with defensive comments or engaging in unproductive conversations, try to express your opinion such as: “I understand you’re upset, but did you try…”
Stay Away From Opinions
You cannot please everyone. And unfortunately, those people you don’t please, for whatever reason, will likely share their opinions on social media. Keep in mind that an opinion is different than bashing your company. If they don’t like something you stated in a blog or post and they share that opinion, just ignore it. Instead of getting worked-up about negative comments, see it as an opportunity to hear what your customers think about your products or services. That’s what Dominos did when they received negative comments about their pizza, they listened to their customers to create a better pizza.
Ignoring negative comments is not always easy, but sometimes it is the best option. If it looks like a heated Twitter fight is brewing, don’t let all your followers see it. Instead, contact those involved privately, and resolve the issue away from the public eye. Also, if you have responded numerous times to a customer and they still continue to post negative comments, then ignore them as well. If the customer still continues to post negative comments, delete them. As long as you did everything you could to please the customer, don’t waste your time and move on.
Admit when you’re wrong
No one likes to admit when they’re wrong, but being able to fess up to mistakes can earn your company respect. For example, Gap recently tweeted a photo of a skinny model to advertise their womens’ clothing line.
Gap received a lot of criticism claiming they are creating unrealistic expectations for women. Gap listened to the comments and replied:
“Our intentions have always been to celebrate diversity in our marketing and champion people for who they are,” Gap Inc. spokesperson Edie Kissko told PEOPLE. “Upon reflection, we understand the sensitivity surround this photograph. Customer feedback is important to us and we think this is a valuable conversation to learn from.”
Instead of getting defensive, Gap listened to the negative comments and made a public apology. Even with the best of intentions, innocent posts can sometimes offend others. That is why it is important to admit when you’re wrong.
Respond With a Solution
If you can quickly respond with a solution, do so as soon as possible. Not only will the unhappy customer be pleased, but it shows that you care for your customers. Your response should start with an apology or a statement of understanding regarding the issue, such as: “I understand you are having trouble with our product. Perhaps you could …?”
Social media puts your company out in the open for anyone to comment about, and it is easy to feel vulnerable and have your confidence shaken. Remember that you’re not alone, and every other company or individual deals with the same issues. Don’t stop posting and being active on social media.. Take corrective action and move on to engage in positive and meaningful ways with your target market and current customers.
What do you think?
What kind of negativity have you received on social media and how did you respond? Have you found productive ways to handle conflict on social media? We’d love to hear your stories. Please let us know about your experiences by leaving a comment below.