How do we deal with negative comments on social media? This is a common question that comes up during our bootcamps from all sorts of organisations large or small. The approach remains the same, no matter what size you are. Here are some tips:
- Don’t delete the comments unless they are offensive or illegal. Negative conversations are the part of social media, avoiding or deleting these conversation will only worsen the situation. If the comment is genuine then try and find out why they think the way they do. You may not be able to turn them into a positive but just acknowledging their grievance will often stop the situation from worsening. Simply deleting the comment will only confirm any prejudices the person may or may not have. Plus if anyone else notices you have done it they are likely to assume the person is right thus damaging your reputation.
- Acknowledge the feedback with a quick and prompt reply. Delay in acknowledging the feedback may be taken as a lack of interest in the complaint or in the views of your customers/service users.
- Don’t get involved in a public row. If you rise to the bait and start snapping back it not only runs the risk of exacerbating the situation but also makes you appear unprofessional. Instead suggest they take their complaint through your official complaints procedures or have the conversation privately via email or direct messages.
- Thank them for taking the time to feedback. It may stick in your throat to do this but believe me when I say it will help diffuse the situation. Furthermore, if the person continues with their negativity despite you being polite any other people watching the conversation will find them unreasonable.
- Track the complaint. If you manage to refer the complaint through your customer service process try and track its progress. When the complaints process is complete it would be a powerful epitome of how seriously you take customer service if the person realises you are keeping a watchful eye on their complaint.
Negative comments might make your blood boil but more often than not simply acknowledging the person will be enough to tone down their anger. Many simply want a platform to vent their spleen and social media offers them this. If managed well an organisation can turn a negative into a positive by reassuring customers that you take the issue of customer service seriously. The best organisations understand this and in many instances will turn a negative customer into a brand ambassador.