As we know social media gives customers a voice. It provides a platform for them to be vocal about experiences, issues or concerns. This level of transparency never existed before, which makes it a learning process for businesses. As consumers become more connected, brands are expected to keep up with the tools and platforms they are using – this includes responding to negative feedback on social websites like Yelp, Twitter and Facebook.
According to a study done by The Retail Consumer Report last year, 68% of consumers that posted a complaint or a negative comment on social networking sites, got a response from the retailer. Of that, 18% turned into loyal customers, 33% turned around and posted a positive review and 34% deleted the negative review they posted. What does this data tell you? If managed properly, listening and responding to negative feedback can give your brand the opportunity to build stronger relationships by providing the excellent service your customers expect.
When it comes to responding to negative comments, there is no one right way to do it. While every company should have a clear process, here are some tips on how to respond to negative feedback on blogs, forums and other social media platforms.
The study noted above also found that most consumers have low expectations of retailers responding to negative comments. 61% of respondents said they would be shocked if a retailer actually responded to their comment on a social networking site. As we know, a customer’s experience shapes their decision to buy and also determines whether they would recommend the brand to others. This only proves that the sooner you respond, the faster they may become your brand advocate.
Be Human & Transparent
This sounds like an obvious tip but often companies will follow a script to answer customers. This can get old very quickly and your customers will figure it out! Be upfront, honest and say sorry if it’s your fault. Building an honest and transparent relationship is key for your company’s growth in the social media-sphere. An example I’ve given before was my poor experience with an Alaska Airlines customer service representative. I tweeted my experience and received the following response instantly.
Create a Separate Social Customer Service Email
From my own experience, I have found this to be helpful in many ways. Not only does this allow customers to respond to a dedicated and exclusive email address, it also helps keep responses and customer feedback organized internally. A simple email address such as “email@example.com” is clear, concise and easy for your customers to understand.
Don’t take it personally
Last but not least, don’t take negative feedback personally. Instead, try to understand the situation from your customer’s perspective. The worst thing a community manager can do is react defensive or aggressively with customers – this will hurt your brand’s reputation online. There will be many times when customers are unreasonable or use harsh language, but you should never respond back in the same manner!
Have you dealt with any negative customer experiences on social media? Share your stories below!