Businesses regularly suffer bombardments of abusive, negative comments on social media. It seems to have become the norm to publicly detail a grievance with a company before contacting them directly to say there is a problem. It has propped up the notion that corporations are big evil-doers and the customers are always hard done by.
Some companies are working hard to break down that corporate identity. They can give their brands a face, a personality, and a voice that engages customers. Social media is free to use and ideal for developing this type of relationship with the public. It should be a part of your PR strategy, and it should also be an enormous part of your marketing strategy. But it does put you out there on the front line and in the thick of it when it comes to negative feedback.
Friendly and Informal?
Social media gives you a chance to be both friendly and informal. You can become chatty as though speaking with good friends. This makes it incredibly powerful when you want to build relationships with customers. It can also become more tricky to handle trolls or negatively while maintaining a professional composure. This is essential to ensure you don’t damage your brand reputation.
Some companies offer a professional approach to customer gripes. Using social media pages like LinkedIn and FaceBook, they reach out with a welcome. In fact, the Peninsula Group complaints procedure is detailed clearly while still offering customers easy access to independent forums. It makes sense to remind customers they don’t have to do it your way. But if a customer is upset or having a problem, make sure your procedure is clear, easy to find, and personable all the way.
As for that Twitter rant, you will often find it necessary to let it go. Most intelligent users of social media recognise an unjustified rant when they see it. The ones you need to respond to are the ones where it is clear the customer has a problem. It is your job to solve it, and it is best to provide the means to do so within that conversation feed. Make your customer feel they are right to be upset. Explain they shouldn’t have a problem with the product or service. Then invite them to follow a single link that will solve their problem. If you don’t have a solution ready, then invite them to continue the conversation privately.
Negative Feedback Provides Positive Opportunities
Your marketing team should be keen to see any negative feedback. You don’t need to challenge it. Instead, see it as an opportunity to make your products, sales process, or services better. If a customer doesn’t like something, change it. The negative feedback is giving you focus group level data for free! Make good use of it. And don’t forget to thank the customer!
Don’t make excuses or the old ‘we’re sorry you feel this way’ response. Agree that what they’ve experienced isn’t good and clarify it shouldn’t have happened. Offer the solution to the problem and thank them for highlighting a flaw that you can now fix with immediate effect. Be positive!
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