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Brand Reputation: How to Handle Negative Feedback on Social Media

The old saying goes: you can’t please everybody. Unfortunately, it’s rare for a business to only receive positive feedback. To protect brand reputation, the most important thing when your business inevitably receives negative feedback or constructive criticism on Social Media, is how you handle it. There is always a risk of the situation going from bad to worse, so follow these 5 tips and turn that negative feedback into something positive!

Before we delve into our 5 tips, there is something to be said for pre-emptive action. The best practice is to solve a problem before it becomes one. If you know, for example, something marked for next day delivery has gone out late, or if you know you have accidentally missed an item off an order, give the customer a call and apologise before they get the chance to be disappointed! This might save you a headache at a later date! With that said, let’s get on with it – our 5 top tips on how to handle negative feedback on Social Media!

1. Don’t be impulsive

It’s natural when reading a bad review to jump to your businesses defences immediately but don’t be rash! Responding without pausing for reflection can lead to crossed wires and anger filled exchanges. You need to re-read the comment and think carefully before you formulate your response, even if it’s real time (like Twitter) there’s still room for a few seconds pause.

2. Don’t ignore or delete

Wouldn’t it be so easy to hit ‘delete’ on that bad review or comment? However tempting, deleting negative feedback will more than likely infuriate the person who wrote it, pushing them to make even more of a statement. While it’s not ideal for potential customers to see a current customer’s complaint, if you handle the situation correctly and fairly, it will show visitors to your page that in the unlikely event of a problem for them, it will be handled swiftly and expertly.

3. Be Honest

Customers love honesty and integrity in a brand. After all, behind that brand or business are ordinary hard-working people who can make mistakes! If the customer has a point, simply be honest about your mistakes and let them know how you will rectify it! There’s also a lot to be said for the humble apology. Don’t grovel, but apologise to your customer.

4. Be Public

There may be some circumstances in which you need to deal with privately. Perhaps there is some sensitive information that needs to be explained; perhaps a conversation needs to be had over the phone. Of course, anything that will help you better communicate with your disgruntled customer is great – but make sure you respond in the public domain too!

For example, if a customer tweets you with a complaint – by all means DM them or give them a call, but you must also respond to their original tweet! You need to be seen to be taking their complaint seriously and responding appropriately. A great tweet to respond with would be:

'Hi Joe! Thanks for contacting us – we’re sorry about this issue you’ve had! Check your DM for a message, we'll get this resolved immediately!'

When you do respond in the public domain, it’s important to keep in mind that you should never get into a backwards and forwards debate with a customer. At this point, take it offline

5. Be Personal

It may seem like such a simple thing, but sending a personal response, addressed by name can make a huge difference! Don’t be tempted to copy and paste a generic response, you won’t be fooling anyone. If a customer goes to the extent of finding you on Social Media and writing feedback for you, they want a direct, relevant response – to feel listened to.

Now we know what to do, here’s a perfect example of what NOT to do! Earlier this year a restaurant in Manchester made the news with their response to a customer’s complaint on Facebook.

How to Handle Negative Feedback on Social Media

Read the full story here.

It’s never easy to deal with negative feedback, but follow these guidelines and you’ll be able to turn the situation round with ease! Remember to recognise how positive negative feedback can be for your business, it tells you how you can improve your service or product and wow more customers in the future! The last tip from us is not to dwell on negative feedback...resolve the issue and continue to delight your customers!

Find out more about what not to say on Social Media on one of earlier blog posts here.

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