Dealing with negative customer feedback on social media

Hornby Whitefoot PREverything today is all about image and reputation. Social media offers you the opportunity to engage with your customers and gain new ones while building your brand awareness. It also leaves you open to customer complaints. However, dealing with such potentially damaging issues in the right way allows you to keep your reputation intact and even improve the customer’s experience with your brand.

Think of social media as a stage; it’s your virtual reality showcase where your performance skills and how you evoke reaction from your audience is key.  Of course, this leaves you open to members of the public heckling you, or any mistakes you’ve made being amplified for all and sundry to see. Rather than this being a primarily mortifying experience or negatively influencing your image, this is where harnessing the power of social media for your own benefit is key. Should a disgruntled customer rant on Twitter about you or post a complaint on your Facebook account about a negative experience they may have had involving one of your products or services, this may at first feel like a situation out of your control. However, this can be an opportunity for you to seize, thanks to a few tips:

  1. Time is of the essence. It’s your job to make any complaints your priority, so setting up a policy to deal with them swiftly and efficiently is essential.
  1. Be pleasant, but not overly friendly. Social media-savvy users will detect any over-the-top insincere ‘chumminess’.
  1. Typos are an absolute no-no. Using the correct grammar and capitalisation are essential; any spelling mistakes will compromise your company’s professionalism and brand voice.
  1. Tactfully go offline if necessary. Where a situation is getting heated and it’s clear you’re dealing with a customer who is rather hot under the collar, it’s important to move any aggressive, awkward conversations offline, as quickly as possible. It’s also advisable to do it in a way that not only appeases the upset party but also conveys to your online audience that the issue is being dealt with effectively.
  1. Customer service or crisis management? One or two customer complaints is not the end of the world and is arguably part and parcel of running a business. Handled correctly, it’s a manageable situation. However, if 500 customers are having an online gripe about you, this soon can turn into an emergency situation for your business. It may be time to hire a trusted PR agency who know how to deal with crisis management, before it spirals even further out of control.

Want to know more about how your business can merge social media with customer service? Drop us a line today to see how we can help.