There’s little doubt that a strong social media strategy has become one of the quickest ways to develop interest and generate viable leads for your business. Creating an open forum for conversations online can be one of the best ways to forge relationships with your customer base. At the same time, as most social media users know, it also opens the door for criticism to be voiced in a very public domain. Handling negative feedback on social media requires a delicate hand; one wrong response can turn into a PR disaster. At the same time, an excellent response turned into a memorable customer experience can make your brand an online hero. Read on to learn how your business can effectively respond to social media complaints confidently.
Monitor Your Online Presence
The first step to being able to respond to online complaints is to be aware of what’s being said. It may seem daunting to keep track of your social media, especially if you have multiple accounts across several platforms. The good news is, there are a variety of social media management dashboards like Hootsuite and Sprout that can help you stay on top of customer feedback. Track certain hashtags (Google Alerts) can also help with this related to your brand, as well as messages directly tagging you and make sure your team is ready to respond.
Know When to Respond, and When to Stay Silent
You want to be diligent about being aware of the feedback coming in, but knowing what warrants a response can be a little trickier. While you never want to intentionally ignore (or worse, outright delete) legitimate criticism, it’s a fact that you’ll run across people that are purely seeking to antagonize, or are unwilling to reason. In this case, it’s best to offer a polite, professional apology and move on. “Feeding the beast” so to speak, will only result in increased negative attention.
Acknowledge your mistakes promptly and show commitment to improvement
If you’ve done a good job of monitoring your online channels, the next step is to make sure you respond to complaints quickly and offer solutions. You may not be able to resolve every issue right away, but taking the time to not only acknowledge feedback but show that you’re following up goes a long way. Have a plan to transition complaints to offline methods when necessary, and offer personalized responses to incoming messages to maximize the chances of a positive reception.
Keep calm and find ways to go the extra mile
It can be easy to grow frustrated managing customer feedback online, particularly when complaints may seem to be blown out of proportion or downright inaccurate. The dangers of responding poorly, however, are very real. Stay calm, professional, and do your best to communicate genuine empathy for their discontent. Recognize that, just like your in-house customers, you won’t always be able to make everyone happy. What you can commit to are responses that are respectful, kind, and productive. The more you lead with tact, the less firepower you’ll give naysayers. At the same time, look for ways to provide exceptional experiences for those who take the opportunity to interact with you online.
Responding to negative feedback online can be a difficult skill to master no matter your industry. Keeping these tips in mind will help you navigate your interactions with confidence and allow you to focus on strengthening your brand. Remember not to sweat the small stuff, put your best foot forward, and you’ll be good to go!
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