Let’s address a “hypothetical situation” that happens all of the time.
You have taken the time to create a social media presence. Your Facebook page is solid and you post valuable content regularly. You are providing good information and engaging with the growing audience. You are killing it with your social media marketing.
Then one day, you get a negative comment. A customer came to your location and had a bad experience. They might have had an actual bad experience…or maybe they are just a difficult person. Their coffee was cold. Or their server was slow. Or their customer service representative was rude. Whatever the reason, they have decided to let the entire world know via social media!
What do you do now?
If this does not sound familiar yet, it will. The reality is, with the internet, everyone has a voice. And when people feel they have been wronged, they want to share that experience. The thing is, this is not a new thing. People have always shared their negative opinions. Now, everyone just has a larger audience. So what do you, as an organization, do when you get one of these negative comments online?
There are a couple steps to take (and they are outlined in detail in the GREAT book by Jay Baer “Hug Your Haters.“) But before we get to the simple steps, let’s reframe the discussion. We need to look a bit differently about the feedback. As I mentioned above, these conversations have always happened. But now you get to be a part of them! You get to address (the sometimes) very real issues with your service so that future customers don’t have the same experience. This is incredible intel to make your organization better! You need to start by looking at it that way. Don’t get defensive…get pro-active to fix the issue.
Now onto the simple steps.
When you receive a negative comment about your company, product or service, I recommend you respond to the comment by doing three things. Apologize. Empathize. Take it offline.
Regardless of the issue, you don’t want your customer or prospects to have a bad experience, right? So apologize for it. “I am so sorry you had this experience.”
This is when many of us feel the need to “give a reason” why this happened. This “reason” often comes off as an “excuse.” No one wants an excuse. They want to know they are valued.
Take if offline
I recommend you give them a number (to a real person) to call to discuss their issue. First, this shows you really want to handle it. Second, it keeps you from getting into an argument online…NEVER a good idea. This can be an incredibly effective technique. Often, you won’t ever get the call from the person. They just wanted to vent. But by responding, you not only responded to that customer, but everyone who knows them SEES that you responded. It shows you care enough to try and fix the issue.
And as customers, we know that caring can go a long way.