(Part Two of our Social Media Strategies Series.)
Now that we’re monitoring our brand online, what do we do when we discover negative feedback from our customers?
When it comes to using social media, brands seem to fear negative feedback the most. There is no reason to fear social media, however. Negative feedback, handled correctly, can be made into a positive result, and even create more loyal customers.
Determine The Kind Of Feedback
Not all negative feedback is created equally. People respond negatively for different reasons, and this determines how we will respond as well.
- Support Issue. This is the easiest kind of negative feedback to address, because it is seeking a tangible solution. If a customer has a specific problem with a product or service, they aren’t necessarily angry. They just want specific help.
- Valid Anger. When a support issue was ignored or handled poorly, it quickly turns to anger. Letting a support issue get to this point means resolving the problem will require even more work.
- Constructive Criticism. This is probably the most painful but useful feedback. We get a clear picture on a problem that we can’t see with the help of someone on the outside. It might be wrapped in other kinds of feedback or have a tone of anger, or it might be polite and direct on its own. It might be from repeated experiences or something the customer has come to realize.
- The Giant Troll. This is a person who might not even be a customer, or isn’t one you’d consider a loyal customer. They just want to cause problems, create bad publicity, get revenge, offend or insult anyone who might be reading, or wield word-of-mouth power and try to coerce you into giving them free stuff or else.
Determine Your Response
Once we’ve figured out what kind of feedback we’re dealing with, we’ll understand the motivation.
- Immediate Response. Support issues require a response right away. This is what the customer expects. If we delay, the customer becomes angry, in which case we stil have a support issue to deal with, but also an emotional issue. At this point, it might feel more personal.
- Consider And Respond. Constructive criticism should also be acknowledged, even if it hurts. It might just be a simple “thank you for letting us know” or, depending upon the topic or the customer, we might even ask them to further elaborate. This will appeal not only to that customer, but also to those who are reading the conversation. It tells others that we’re listening, and that we value our customer’s opinions.
- Do Not Respond. Remember to never feed the trolls. Some feedback has no valid basis, and in this case no response is the best response. Responding in anger or sarcasm is very bad idea. The removal of this kind of feedback might be warranted, particularly if the person is saying something offensive. Blocking them where possible, if this is consistent behavior, is also acceptable.
The General Rules Of Response
Using a social media tool like TodayLaunch, which mimics that ever-familiar email inbox, makes responding to customers across multiple social networks easy. We know how to have a conversation in email, and it helps to use a tool that simplifies and standardizes responding across all of our different accounts and platforms.
Whichever tool we choose to use to respond to negative feedback, remember:
- It should be comprehensive in monitoring.
- It should be conversational in responding.
Once we have the accounts in place and the tools to make the best use of them, remember that for any response:
- Don’t take the feedback personally.
- Your response needs to be personal.
Seems kind of at odds, doesn’t it? Just remember that the customer is responding to a company, but we are responding to a person. That makes all the difference.