How to deal with negative comments on social media

The process of developing a social media policy gives you the opportunity to reflect on and organise your external voice and communication values across the entire organisation, so it can be a great process to go through.

Your social media policy should also outline how you will deal with any negativity across your social platforms.

There are a few simple steps you can take to deal with upset, angry and disappointed customers, who choose to express themselves on your platforms.

It may seem a bit scary and you may just want to run and hide and pretend it’s not happening.

Or you may feel offended, especially if you work hard to create amazing customer service experiences for your customer.  But people have bad days, problems occur and customers get upset.

But if you deal with the issue quickly and respond accordingly it doesn’t need to be a major disaster! So…

  • Don’t wait – Address negative comments quickly. As a rule of thumb the majority of customers will expect a response within 60 minutes.  Also remember, you are not just dealing with your one negative customer.  Depending on the size of your following and theirs, you may be dealing with hundreds and maybe even thousands of followers.
  • Acknowledge the problem – something simple like ‘thank you for your feedback.’
  • If the issue is complex and you cannot resolve it right away or perhaps requires a more personal approach, message or tweet them and suggest you talk it out over email or phone.
  • Take it offline – Give them the attention they need, but no need to play it all out online, for all to see.
  • If, while you are dealing with the complaint, it begins to escalate and another person jumps in and agrees with them, always respond. Explain your side and add a human touch, smile to yourself before responding and post something like:

‘Sorry you had a bad experience, we always strive to do our best by our customers and we will do our utmost to fix this problem for you.’

  • Trolls – If you are dealing with a troll, that is someone who is a deliberate trouble maker and perhaps seeking attention, more often than not you are better not to respond. BUT monitor them very carefully, keep these type of people in your line of sight and screenshot their comments. If the trolling continues warn them and block them if necessary, but usually it’s best not to ‘feed the trolls.’ If they still continue, remove the comments and explain they have breached your social media rules.
  • Use Google Alerts, to keep an eye on your reputation. You enter a search term, such as your company name and the service scours the internet for any match and emails you when it finds any.

For most companies, most of the time, social media offers a way to engage positively with your customers. But as in the offline world, you should always be prepared to deal with negativity and unhappy customers. Answer your customers, connect with them, and show your entire audience on social media that you really care about what they have to say.

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