Reacting To Negative Feedback On Social Media: Part 1
Unless you live in a cave, by now you should have heard of Nando’s recent major customer service boo-boo involving Singaporean actress Joanne Peh, and the resulting media furore when Peh took her anger onto Twitter.
The Nando’s incident illustrates an important point. Just as how a compliment posted on a social network can, through the word of mouse, bring your company even more profits, a misstep in how you present yourself to your customers can easily undo the years of hard work that went into building up your reputation. Negative comments spread like wildfire and can do lasting damage if timely action is not taken to contain it and fix the situation.
In our next 2 posts we will offer 10 tips on how you can deal with negative feedback on social media and perhaps, suggest how you might be able to turn that around into a positive experience.
1) Prep Yourself
Social media is inclusive by nature and anyone is able to participate in it. Consequently, It is inevitable to find yourself at the receiving end of criticism sometimes. By reminding yourself about this, you can mentally brace yourself for when the moment actually arrives. Take it a step further and actively monitor your brand for the first signs of negative feedback. For example, you can set Google Alerts to track mentions of your brand as they occur on the Internet.
2) Respond Swiftly
Once you have made a decision about how to tackle the problem, do it. Don’t sit around waiting and hoping for the furore to die down. Resentment builds up over time – it doesn’t just disappear. One negative comment can quickly become five when the first isn’t adequately addressed.
3) Please, no auto-generated replies!
Remember the last time you fired out a complaint to a company, only to receive this in your inbox?
Thank you for your feedback. We will look into it. If you have any additional queries, please email us at ___________________ and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Yeah, we hate those too.
Instead, take the time to draft out a proper, personalised reply. A genuine, carefully-worded letter shows that you took their comments to heart and are sincere in resolving the issue and pave the way for further, meaningful discussion.
4) Nip The Problem In The Bud
Constructive criticism opens your eyes to areas in which your company needs to improve on. If you are able to put this valuable feedback to good use, power to you. Even better if you can do it in a way which allows other customers to see and observe, because it encourages them to continue giving you quality comments in the future. On the flip side, simply apologising and paying lip service isn’t going to work out in the long run, because chances are, there’s a problem rooted deeply somewhere in your company operations that needs fixing, and until it is done, the criticism isn’t going to stop.
5) Be Transparent
If you think you can sneakily delete critical remarks from your blog entry or Facebook page and get away with it, think again. Netizens are a resourceful lot, and it’s going to reflect even worse on you when word gets out about what you have been doing on the sly. Case in point? Sarah Palin’s carefully monitoring and scrubbing clean of her Facebook profile.
Look out for the second part to this post, to be out soon this week!