How to Deal with Negative Criticism on Social Media

Reputation: It is the only thing that matters the most online.

Both online and offline, your reputation should be protected at all costs. But what happens when people take their complaints about your business to the social sphere?

For many companies, they try and bury the negative comments on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or their blog by deleting them or pushing new content on top of it. The truth however is, a bad comment can boost your reputation, if you handle it the right way. How you react to an unsavory situation can speak volumes to a prospective client / audience.

Besides, tech savvy people get a little suspicious if they see only glowing reports. They want to see real world responses to you, your business, and your corporate culture.  If you handle a troublesome customer with tact and dignity, you will send a powerful message to the public.

Set Up A System To Handle Negative Social Media Comments:

1.) Create a Social Listening Station: The first thing to do is to ensure that you know it first when someone is talking about you.  Of course, you should be checking all the social media platforms your business has an account on; but with all the social media outlets available, there is no way to manually search all the possible platforms. I suggest setting up an alert system with Google Alerts. If you create search queries for your business name, personal name, and other relevant searches – you will get near real-time feeds of when and where people are talking about you.

2.) Respond Quickly: Once you find someone talking about your business on a social media platform, be it good or bad,  respond quickly. Do not try and ignore the situation while people are watching and waiting. If you respond with tact and immediacy – you have won the reputation battle with not just the concerned person but also with his/her peer group.  If you let days or weeks go by, you have lost the cause.

3.) Funnel Them Offline: The best thing to do when someone complains about your product/service is to apologize for any misunderstanding. Have a goal of 100% customer satisfaction and try and deal with issues over a call or in person to give them both time and attention to help resolve their issue quickly. This will inform everyone of your willingness to learn, desire to solve your customer’s complaints, and your willingness to back it up with action. Also, it will create a lasting impression about you and your organization.

4.) Have Great Follow-Through:  The worst thing you can do is to invite the customer to an offline conversation and then not follow up on it. This will only annoy the customer more and he/she will vent it all online, across your social media platforms. Make sure that you work hard to resolve their issue and be willing to apologize. Many times, people just want someone to own up to their mistakes. Thus, keep a check on your ego. Remember, the customer is always right.

5.) Don’t Give Up: Fielding negative comments can suck the energy right out of you. Do not neglect the happy clients and comments, and do your best to show the world that your business is committed to excellence despite the occasional stumble. Don’t let few negative remarks take you down.

What To Avoid When Dealing With Negative Feedback on Social Media

1.) Don’t Avoid It: Understand this– when you have a successful business – you, your product, your service, is sure to disappoint someone or the other. Also, know that these folks want their voice to be heard. Do not avoid addressing negative feedback on social media – think of it as an opportunity to provide outstanding customer service and show the other 99% (ideally happy customers) that you can address these types of feedbacks professionally.

2.) Don’t Get Emotional: Once you see negative feedback about your product, service, or staff – or even about you – first, take a deep breath. Do not let the post shake you emotionally. Reply in a calm manner – in the “customer service voice” you want representing your brand.

3.) Don’t Deny It: Most of the times, a negative feedback is simply the result of a communication error between your brand and customer. However, always be open to the possibility that a real problem is present. Address the necessary feedback and look at the root cause. Are there internal controls that need to be addressed? Did company policies cause the problem? Is it likely to be repeated? Once you know how to deal with negative criticism or comments in social media, you’ll boost your online reputation and show the real culture of your business.

Let us know about your experiences in dealing with Negative Criticism on social media.

Image Courtesy: quinn.anya

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