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How to Handle Negative Social Media Feedback

While in general, social media is a boon to all businesses, it does occasionally offer some backlash. There are no filters in place that keep an irate customer from spewing about a bad experience with your brand. But is that necessarily a bad thing?

Go ahead; make my day 

In High Tech, High Touch Customer Service, Micah Solomon dives in to handling customer complaints on sites like Yelp, Twitter and Facebook.

The “Bad Stuff” is Rarely all Bad
Let’s take a bit of a Pollyana approach to getting blasted on the Internet. While, yes, at first glance, a scathing review of your restaurant might ward off potential customers, there is a silver lining. It gives you the opportunity to improve your brand. Maybe you weren’t aware that a certain server was spitting in the customers’ drinks. Now that you know, you can take action to improve the situation. As a business owner, you probably don’t see your business at its worse, simply because your staff is always on its best behavior when you’re around. It’s a shame to have to find out the truth in such a public manner, but it does provide you the opportunity to make things right, not just for this particular customer, but for all future customers too.

Nip it in the Bud
As a company, it behooves you to reduce the need for bad feedback before a situation arises. That means putting processes in place to address common customer service issues and simply providing great service all of the time. This can be a challenge to enforce with a large staff, but aim to lead by example and treat customers like old friends.

Develop Strategies to Quickly Respond
Solomon says it’s important to “develop strategies for rapidly responding in a concerned, empathetic, nonconfrontational manner.” The first time a customer shares a bad experience about your brand on a website, you might scramble, trying to figure out how to respond. Your best bet is to respond quickly, not argue with the customer, and express genuine concern about rectifying the situation.

Occasionally, you’ll have a customer who may didn’t really have a bad experience in your store, but simply wants a little attention or something free from you. In this instance, it may not be worth it for you to argue the point. Consider what it would cost for you to replace the item in question or make the customer whole, and weigh that against the potential damage his comment could do online. Others don’t know that his claim of bad service is false, and it won’t do you any good to argue the point. Simply treat him like any other disgruntled customer, fix it and move on.

By having a plan in place to address to complaints on social sites, you reduce the chance for it to escalate.

Photo: Nora Arias Loftis via Compfight

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