Keeping the Customer Happy: Tips for Dealing with Negative Social Media Feedback.

Has your business been getting a bit of stick on social media platforms?

Are some of your customers leaving negative feedback on Facebook and Twitter?

Well, you’re not alone. Trolling is an unfortunate part of online life these days. Some people, for whatever reason, get a bit of a kick out of winding others up. But what about the genuine customers who feel justified in complaining about poor levels of service or a lousy product?

Has your business got a strategy in place to deal with them? The chances are that the answer is probably not. If it’s any comfort, you’re not alone. Statistics have shown that a surprising number of businesses have no idea when it comes to dealing with negative social media feedback.

According to the Social Media Marketing University’s survey of marketers 88% of businesses are planning to use social media channels this year as part of their marketing mix, yet nearly half, (45%) of them don’t have strategies in place to deal with negative social media feedback. Of the remainder; 25% they had put in place ‘plans’ to devise some sort of strategy, whilst 8% responded that had a plan but that it just wasn’t working.

On the upside 52% of businesses who do have any sort of plan respond to complaints within 24 hours, whilst an honourable 18% responded within the hour – so well done them. What conclusions can you draw from these statistics? Well, it appears too many businesses are simply burying their heads in the sand and hoping their problems will blow over. Unfortunately, this won’t happen. If you don’t address the issue it will just fester.

Commenting on the survey and a lack of a plan to deal with negative response, eMarketer said:

“While many marketers certainly do so without a hitch, the room for error is clear. And since negative buzz can cause anxiety–or worse–among marketers that don’t have a plan in place, it can easily spur intemperate or otherwise poor responses”

So what should you do if your business doesn’t have a strategy for dealing with negative social media feedback? Well, there’s no simple answer to that, except to say you definitely shouldn’t get all defensive and fight back with all guns blazing. You may feel you’ve done nothing to justify the criticism, but don’t forget the customer is always right – even when they’re not. What your business should be doing is settling the matter to the customer’s satisfaction as quickly as possible.

Dealing with the issue promptly will set the customer’s mind at rest and inspire confidence in other potential customers. If businesses react to negative remarks in a positive and pro-active way, then it will only improve their reputation and engender a greater sense of trust and respect with the customer. After all, the market relies heavily on the perceived reputation of any business. If customers don’t trust what you tell them or like the way you respond to criticism, then this can cause untold damage.

What should you do if customers complain or leave negative feedback?

Keep calm:

Evert problem can be fixed: so turn your attention to addressing the issue as soon as you can. Online communities are quick to criticise, but they are also quick to forgive so long as you fix the problem.

React as quickly as you can:

A quick reaction will show that you’re concerned, and more importantly stop the negative feedback amplifying. A slow reaction will convince customers that you just don’t care.

Don’t make excuses:

Don’t be overly defensive. Acknowledge any mistakes and apologise accordingly

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