Dealing With Negativity
So it’s happened, you knew it would only be a matter of time, but there you see it right in front of you on the screen. Someone has left you an unhappy message on your Facebook wall, or sent out a Tweet to all their followers expressing their concerns with something you’ve said / not done / sold.
That’s the problem with the public nature of Social Media, it’s given the people power!
Now the comments could be fabricated, perhaps a little mountain / molehill situation, or maybe absolutely on point. I’m here to tell you today that this isn’t the end of the world, and (if) handled correctly will not have as much of a “bad” impact as you are first thinking.
Kneejerk reactions are great (believe me I’ve made them myself) in the heat of the moment, when someone is unhappy they say things they might not mean/say on reflection, so it’s VERY important that you don’t react in a similar manner.
Building your online reputation takes time and is hard work – the effort and thought gone into your website, email marketing campaign, even your social profiles all counts. You really don’t want to see that destroyed by an irritated customer.
Dependant upon your business type and where the negative comment was posted will determine the effect it has on your business however.
For example, if you are running a hotel / B&B and you are in Trip Advisor, or a hotel booking site like booking.com, or you are an Amazon seller and something negative has been said it can be a little bit devastating.
If it’s a rogue tweet, it tends to disappear from the newsfeeds quite quickly so it doesn’t tend to be too much of a problem, that said however I do firmly believe and recommend that you respond – follow up with a call, email or message to try and rectify the situation.
In those situations, take note of it, and try to avoid it from happening again in the future.
Responding to Negative Comments on Facebook
The easiest and most simple way here is to delete said comment if it has been posted on your own Page wall, or alternatively you can just make a few page updates – text, links, photos, videos and pretty quickly the comment will just filter down the page list, without too many people seeing it.
If the comment is made on another person’s Facebook page then the only option you really have is to ask the page owner to remove it, or report it to Facebook or just ignore it (which yes I know can be hard, especially if you find it to be untrue)
Personally I’m actually a fan of the negative comments, they give you an opportunity to REALLY excel with your customer service skills and actually turn a positive into a negative pretty quickly.
Take a look at the screenshot below – a perfect example of someone who was disgruntled by some Facebook advertising appearing in their newsfeed so decided to take it out on the page post. Some carefully polite words later, another person picked up on the attitude of Affordable Printing Co’s good manner and actually said that reading the response had made them sit in that person’s mind for any printing if they needed it in the future. The disgruntled customer didn’t come back with any reply, but it certainly sparked some good feedback.
Responding To Negative Comments On Twitter
The same goes with Twitter; the very public nature of the platform with the hashtags means that if an unhappy customer tweets with a relevant hashtag to your business it will be seen by all who are looking for that keyword.
You need to be quick off the starting blocks, don’t ignore those messages / tweets if they are persistent. By remaining silent those people who are seeing these comments with your business name attached may think you simply don’t care.
My advice in that instance is to respond with all the relevant hashtag keywords used directly to the user, and offer to get the situation resolved in a mutually beneficial way, and steer the conversation onto email asap – out of the public domain.
People don’t like to be ignored, they know that by using their virtual “speakers corner” they will be heard and taken seriously. I’ve seen many instances of negatives becoming positives by the swift action of the person at the centre of the negativity.
Responding To Negative Comments On Your Website / Blog
The good thing about your website / blog is that you are often in control of who / what posts on it. People generally respond and will warm to those who keep their cool, so its very important to remain composed in these instances.
If the comment on the site isn’t derogatory or carrying bad language I’d be inclined to let it ride on the site, and you respond demonstrating your company’s ability to handle the good, the bad and the ugly.
State fact: if it’s over lost or damaged goods, provide proof; offer an alternative solution that keeps the customer with you.
Ask yourself “are you at fault? If the answer is YES then you apologise and make the situation right (i.e. refund, resend goods, re supply service)
There are those people that no matter what / how you respond will just go on a rampage of negative comments, this can be quite tiresome. Aside from taking legal advice if the comments are bordering on slanderous, the only thing you can do is try to use it to your advantage.
Screenshot the comments, and put it out there for your happy customers to see – let them respond, or collate testimonials in favour of your services, if you are doing a good job the ratio won’t take long to imbalance itself in your favour. Varied positives from different customers soon stamps all over repeated comments from the one source.
In conclusion, don’t panic! It’ really isn’t the be all and end all on your social channels if this does happen. You can use this to your advantage, and turn it into a PR success! If, you don’t feel confident in your responses, then the Bizzebee community team are here and happy to provide impartial advice on the best course of action you could take to keep your brand in the best possible light.