Oh no! Someone said something bad about your business.
Try not to take it personally. As business owners, we do our best to create a unique and satisfying experience for each of our customers. But this is real life and we (and our employees) are human. We can’t do it perfect every time. Sometimes we make a mistake, become unexpectedly busy or other things get in the way of making our customer service above and beyond the customer’s expectations.
Upon reading a negative review, comment or message about your business, you might have the gut reaction to ignore or even delete it. And that’s totally normal — but DON’T do it! Even though it’s tempting to brush what happened under the rug in hopes that no one else sees, this is an opportunity for you. Yes, you read that right, an opportunity.
There are actually several opportunities that sprout from negative feedback on social media. First, you should be thanking your customer for writing the very remarks that make your skin crawl, because now you know where to make improvements.
Had they not felt strong enough to get on your Facebook page and “tell the world” about their experience, you’d never know that some of your customers are having these types of encounters. And repeat poor experiences motivate your customers to take their business elsewhere.
Second, this is your chance to show that you’re listening and that you care about your customers. I recommend a 5-step approach to responding to negative feedback on social media.
5-step approach to responding to negative feedback on social media
Follow the steps below in taking action. Keep in mind that nothing shared on social media can ever truly be erased, even if you delete it. Others can always screenshot it and re-post it.
The problem is real to them; show you’re taking it seriously.
Think of it this way — most people who take the time to complain on social media did it because they care enough about your business to let you know about their dissatisfaction. This typically means they want to continue their relationship with you as long as you handle the situation appropriately.
Don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry.
Do this in the most human way possible. Try not to sound too formal, or your followers will feel like they’re getting fed an in-genuine, canned message. Avoid phrases they’re used to hearing like, “We apologize for this inconvenience.” Go with something more real like, “Hey, we’re really sorry this happened. It’s definitely not the norm for us and we’d like to make it right.”
Use the opportunity to offer your side of the story.
This is your chance to show others who might see the negative comment that you’re listening, you care and to get your key messages out there to help people understand your side of certain situations.
However, you need to be careful in doing this. The last thing you want is to start a back-and-forth argument or make the customer feel like you’re making excuses or placing blame. Review how your phrase your response to make sure it sounds understanding, apologetic and positive.
Offer next steps.
Get contact information, check into more details and complete any additional internal and external planning and conversations to resolve the situation.
Read it out loud.
If you wouldn’t say it, you shouldn’t post it.
Feel free to delete crude and illicit comments, but do not delete critical comments. You don’t want to create a perception that you are indifferent to your social communities’ concerns. It’s important to address these concerns in an open and honest fashion.
Remember to always address the situation as quickly as possible. People on social media expect a rapid response, usually within the hour. But don’t let this send you into a panic! Quickly respond letting the customer know you’ve received their message and are looking into the situation. Then strategize a more thorough response with the 5 step approach.