Social media provides some great opportunities for customer feedback and increased engagement. Negative comments are inevitable, so it’s in a brand’s interest to be thoughtful about what the best practices are for responding. Here are eight tips for responding to negative comments on social media.
#1. Respond Promptly
“Things move quickly in the social media world, and you should respond to comments quickly, preferably within an hour. This doesn’t mean you need to have a perfect solution prepared, but you can respond so the customer knows you care enough to acknowledge their concern,” advises Rolando Robinson, social media manager at Assignment Help. It’s better to give a response letting them know you’re sorry and you’re working on it, than to have the person complain on another platform or call in to speak with a manager. Remember that a lack of a response is a response. It communicates “We don’t care.”
#2. Keep Your Cool
It can be quite unpleasant to receive negative comments, but you need to remember to remain calm. Your response should be calm and polite. Remember that you are representing your brand. Try not to take the comments personally, they really have nothing to do with you, it’s just a customer venting their frustration. Do what you need to do before responding, if you need to let loose a few curse words, or cry softly in the corner, that’s fine. Just don’t let it carry over into your response. Thank the commenter for their input, apologize for their trouble, and encourage them to send you a direct message to talk further.
#3. Don’t Purge the Negative Comments
We should first draw a line between genuine dissatisfied customers and internet trolls. If you’re receiving comments from trolls, whose only goal is to annoy you and prompt a negative response, you can remove them. Otherwise, it’s a really bad idea to simply purge the negative comments. You can make the customer even more angry, and they’ll come back, maybe on the same platform, or a different social media platform. They are also likely to tell their friends and family how displeased they are with your brand and it’s behavior. Also, having some negative comments on your page is kind of a good thing. It shows that your brand is honest and can accept critical opinions.
#4. Don’t Be Negative
“Resist the temptation to respond in kind to an angry commenter. You will only make the situation worse by feeding the customer’s irritation further. Avoid getting defensive; acknowledge the problem and take ownership,” advises Monica Gentry, social media manager at Paper Fellows. The customer is always right, even when they’re really wrong and typing in all caps. Remember that your response will be seen by many more customers than just the one you are responding to. Humility can be very powerful in these situations, because it can remind an angry commenter that there is a human being on the other side of the screen.
#5. Find a Solution, and Follow Up
Just apologizing is not enough, the customer has a problem they need help with. Think about how you would respond to a customer complaining in person. You certainly wouldn’t just apologize and hope they went away. You’d be trying to find a way to fix things. The best thing you can do is let the commenter know that you’re working on a solution. Some people just like to complain, but most are loyal customers who just need a situation resolved. You can turn an angry customer into one that is so impressed with your solution that they’ll tell their friends about it. Don’t forget to follow up later, and maybe even offer them a discount for their trouble.
#6. Have a Plan for Extreme Cases
Your interactions with social media commenters will be a lot more smooth and effective if you’re following a pre-established plan. This is mostly to deal with extreme cases. Come up with a plan that outlines what qualifies as needing escalation, who can be contacted if a customer is raising the threat of legal action, responses to illegal activity (such as threats of physical violence), and when the police need to become involved.
#7. Go Online for Help Improving Your Writing Skills
You’ll have a much easier time replying to social media comments if your writing skills are decent. A lot of people struggle with writing, bu there are lots of good resources that can help. Here are some to get you started:
- WritingPopulist / StateofWriting and: Check out these grammar resources for help going over your writing for grammatical errors. You don’t want your response to have an error in it and reflect badly on your brand.
- OXEssays / PhD Writers: These are online proofreading tools, suggested by UKWritings review, you can use to make sure your writing is polished and free of mistakes.
- ViaWriting / Studydemic: Check out these writing blogs for ideas and tips on how to improve your writing skills. You will find posts by talented writers who have experience responding well to social media comments.
- Boomessays / Essayroo: These are editing tools, recommended by Victoria assignment services, you can use to go over your writing for typos and other errors. Make sure everything looks good before you submit your response.
- My Writing Way / LetsGoandLearn: These are writing guides you can explore for ways to improve your writing.
#8. Measure Your Effectiveness
Social media interactions are becoming more and more common, and thus important. It’s crucial there are mechanisms put in place to determine if your policies towards responding to comments are having the desired effect. Surveys are very useful for answering questions such as: are social media interactions leading to more sales? and are customers more or less satisfied after an interaction? This kind of data is important to know, so make measuring your effectiveness a priority.
Dealing with customer complaints on social media is a unique experience, it’s quite different from an in-person interaction, or even one carried out over the phone. Anonymity can cause people to say things they wouldn’t ever say to someone’s face, so things can get nasty. It’s important that your brand is prepared to deal with negative comments in a way that is conducive to retaining customers and reducing bad publicity.
About the Author!
Grace Carter is a social media manager at Big Assignments and Australian Help, academic services. She also helps with content management and proofreading tasks. Grace teaches writing courses at Academized writing website.