Part of the joy of social is that it’s a conversation between you and your audience, an opportunity to not just talk but to listen as well. Of course this come with a little bit of risk, namely the chance for negative comments to find their way to you and your pages. However, if handled well an unhappy customer can easily be turned around (and even turned into a brand ambassador) and a negative situation into a positive one for all involved.
The cornerstone of dealing with negativity is offering an apology or showing understanding, all while providing a solution. Nothing placates better than showing some empathy and that their opinion is valid, and of course offering a solution will then fix whatever the problem is. Perhaps think of every social interaction as being like a face-to-face chat except that you’ve both got megaphones and are stood in a very crowded place full of bored, nosey onlookers who have the potential to be your customers. You’d want to calm them down and fix what they’re shouting about right?
Now, if you’ve fixed their problem you’ve got a load of good stuff coming your way. Sure, the initial negative comment remains but it is now the beginning of a conversation where you calmly and reasonably solved a problem. Future customers will be reassured that if anything does go wrong (which it could anywhere) you’ll deal with it for them, brilliant! You might have also created a new brand ambassador – whenever Mr. Previously-Upset tells his friends about what happened you’ll be The Problem Solver.
A final thing to bear in mind is that speed is important. Whatever you’re going to say get it out there quickly. The faster the reply the less time the situation has to spiral, the less time the complainer has to stew, and the more impressive you’ll be for sorting everything out in record time!
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