Do you know how to respond to negative reviews and comments on social media? From Facebook and Twitter to TripAdvisor and Yelp, social media helps us connect with our customers.
Unfortunately, this also open us up to criticism.
How do you react when someone says something negative about your business?
If you’re like most people, your natural instinct will almost always be a defensive one. “No! They’re wrong!” As much as we might like to, reacting in this knee-jerk sort of way just isn’t helpful.
Respond Swiftly & Professionally
Once negative comments have been made, it’s important to step up to the plate and show that you’re a professional brand. Never ignore negative feedback. It won’t go away. Show that you know how to face criticism by responding in an appropriate manner.
The golden rule in communications is to make sure that you reply so that your customer feels heard. You should:
Acknowledge what they’ve said.
Apologize for how the experience has made them feel.
Own the problem.
Explain how the problem will be dealt with so that future customers won’t have a similar experience.
If possible, do what you can do to rectify the situation for the customer.
Be professional and mindful of how you word your response. It’s not just about the individual customer who made the comment; it’s also about all of the other people who will see your response and who will formulate an opinion on your brand based on how you handle the situation. It’s also important to remember that it costs less money to keep a customer than to find a new one.
Acknowledging the customer so that they feel heard and apologizing for how the experience made them feel can go a long way in improving their perception of your business. You can even take that one step further by trying to fix the problem. For example, many restaurants will give customers a gift certificate to come back and try the restaurant again–free of charge–in attempt to change the customer’s perception and to make a better impression.
Practice Social Listening to Improve Your Business
If you can go beyond your defensive instinct and fine-tune your social listening skills, you’ll have the opportunity to uncover some important information from your customers that could help you improve your overall business. Usually there’s something to be learned from negative feedback. Rise above your defensive feelings to find the grain(s) of truth in what’s being said, even if it’s hard to hear. What is that negative feedback telling you about the customers’ expectations? How can you use that feedback to improve your business?
Managing Your Brand’s Reputation
Your business can’t afford to ignore negative feedback. If you play your cards right, you actually turn that negative into a positive with some careful maneuvering. A well-managed response can elevate your brand in the eyes of both the person who left the feedback and all of the other people who see your response. Now that’s good branding.