Anyone could face negative experiences with a business. And people who face such experiences leave poor reviews on social media platforms.
According to Small Biz Genius, 93% of marketers claim that the exposure gained through social media platforms is their number one reason for using them, and with 45% of the world’s population (3.5 billion) actively using social media, the potential reach and engagement cannot be overlooked.
However, social media platforms can also provide a conduit for shoppers who post comments without first identifying whether they are justified or not.
All it takes is one dissatisfied customer who is loud enough to convince others of a certain fact about your products, delivery, or service for you to lose credibility.
Thus, dealing with negative comments in a professional and timely manner is of utmost importance no matter the scale of your business or the market you operate in.
With that said, let’s take a look at what leads to negative comments, the importance of addressing them quickly and swiftly, as well as several guidelines on how to do so professionally moving forward.
What Leads to Negative Social Media Comments
Let’s start by exploring the reasons behind negative social media comments and why customers prefer to leave these rather than opt for support channels.
According to Social Media Today, 50% of customers follow brands on social media to receive up-to-date information on new products and services, while 67% of them state that they would be more likely to increase their spending with a brand they follow and support on social media.
Kurt Anderson, Head of Customer Support at Supreme Dissertations spoke on the topic recently:
“No matter how small or niche your business may be, negative social media feedback can be dangerous if not addressed in a timely manner. Be on guard for potential customer feedback by appointing a social media manager to monitor and address incoming comments to minimize the risk of negative coverage.”
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn represent public engagement spaces which cannot be hidden from anyone who may follow a certain page.
This level of transparency of social media allows customers to freely post reactions (even knee-jerk) based on delivery experience.
Any slip-up on your or your shipping carrier’s part which lands at the door of a certain customer will often lead to negative social media comments despite your best efforts and could cost your business heavily.
As such, there is very little that you can do to eliminate these comments from your social media pages, making it a priority for you to develop adequate response strategies upfront.
In terms of delivery experiences, some of the reasons for negative social media comments include but are not limited to:
- Late package delivery
- Lost packages
- Damaged packages
- Lack of dedicated customer support at your end
The Importance of Addressing Negative Comments
Now that we have a better understanding of what leads to negative comments, let’s discuss the importance of addressing them in a timely manner.
When it comes to negative statements about your brand on social media, the last thing you should do is ignore the comments and hope for the best.
Just like with any type of content on the internet, these comments will be permanently linked with your brand if they are left unresolved.
Cynthia Brook, Chief Social Media Manager at Pick the Writer puts it this way:
“It’s important to look at every negative comment you receive as a learning opportunity. Whether the claim is true or not, you will always be able to learn something useful from it and adapt that knowledge to further improve your customer service in the immediate future.”
Whether the comments you receive are positive or negative, all of them deserve a response from your representative to facilitate further trust and respect from your customers.
As such, the benefits of addressing negativity on your social media pages are:
- It showcases your customer support quality
- It helps you build stronger customer relationships
- It allows you to control the public’s perception of your business
Dealing with Negative Social Media Comments
All things said and done, here’s how you can deal with negative social media reviews:
1. Don’t Wait Too Long
When it comes to actually addressing negative comments on your social media pages, several rules are universal and should be followed at all times.
The most important of which is the fact that you should never wait more than 24 hours to address any comment you’ve received.
Waiting any longer than that will give your followers an impression that you’ve seen the comment but are not doing anything about it, causing your brand to lose credibility as a result.
You can prepare a few appropriate, “we are working on it” responses for the comments that are left on you social media channels and use them when required. This will buy you time to formulate a more detailed response based on what you plan to do.
2. Be Professional No Matter What
I apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused you, Jim. Definitely not the kind of service that we want you to experience. Thank you for taking the time to perform all the checks on your services. To save you from the hassle of waiting on the ... https://t.co/M6FceKeYyD— Virgin Media (@virginmedia) July 1, 2019
As we’ve mentioned previously, negative comments are often fueled by emotions, anxiety, or general dissatisfaction with a delivery experience.
Thus, they are likely to contain aggressive wording, inappropriate language, or an accusatory tone.
It’s essential that you view these comments in an objective manner and with a critical eye instead of allowing your own emotions to take hold.
Respond to each negative comment with a cordial, positive tone of voice and assure the customer that you are working on a solution to their negative experience as you speak (which you should do following the engagement).
3. Redirect the Conversation
Depending on the type of products or services you provide to customers, it might be a good idea to redirect the conversation to a private channel like email or live chat from the social media page.
This should be done for several reasons including your customers’ privacy and the safety of delivery information among others.
Politely respond to a comment, thanking the poster for reaching out to you with their problem, and offer to solve the problem on another channel.
Never start multi-comment conversations on public social media posts as they will stay logged forever and lead to potential distrust or second-guessing from customers down the line.
4. Offer Adequate Compensation
Once you assess a situation and determine that your customer has had a poor delivery experience, you should compensate them accordingly.
Simply apologizing and offering no compensation never works. It leads to a customer switching to a competitor. Compensate, even if this means you will have to pay for shipping or send out a free item to your customer.
Remember, negative comments on social media can escalate and lead to further scrutiny and loss of reputation for your brand if you mismanage support tickets.
Apologize to your customer for the time and money they’ve invested in your product and offer them a refund or a replacement to amend for the negative experience they’ve had so far.
5. Ask for Feedback
After you’ve successfully diffused a negative customer experience via social media, you should nevertheless reach out for feedback and suggestions.
Ask your customers about their experience before and after support has been provided as well as how satisfied they are with your treatment of their ticket.
While some customers will hold grudges for some time to come, others will be very grateful for the opportunity to offer critical feedback and objective suggestions for your delivery processes going forward.
6. Monitor your Social Media Pages
Lastly, it’s a good practice to constantly monitor your social media pages to respond to negative comments.
Neglecting your social media pages can lead to a huge loss of sales, reputation and business opportunities.
Make it a habit to check your social media channels on a daily basis, engage with your audience via comments, and be on the lookout for any customer who might be in need of assistance with their delivery experience.
While you may feel uncomfortable or disrespected when you receive a negative comment on social media, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your customers whenever this happens.
Your customer might be overseas or have poor technical skills and automatically assume that they have been scammed or worse.
Take time to develop a comment response system to prepare for any customer engagement which may come your way.
Addressing their concerns like a professional will only improve your business’ position on the market.
This article is a contribution by Angela Baker.
Angela Baker is a self-driven specialist who is currently working as a content manager at PickTheWriter and is trying to improve herself and her blogging career. She is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth and is convinced that it’s always important to broaden horizons. That’s why Angela develops and improves her skills throughout the writing process to help to inspire people. Also, she writes for LiveInspiredMagazine, rounding out her professional writing career.
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