If one person wants to hurt the reputation of a business, all he needs to do is use social media to his advantage.
Today, social media has become the precursor for booking a service, buying a product or scheduling a vacation. Do you know what customers look for first? Negative comments, complaints or reviews.
While these situations are important, what is more important is how you handle them.
The importance of customer service in the 21st century
As a business, it’s important that you take customer service very seriously. Sometimes, businesses are quick to dismiss social media complaints or negative comments. To their surprise, these are opportunistic moments to demonstrate the quality and integrity of the business and customer service.
In this article, we are going to teach you exactly how to use negative comments on social media to become the customer service king. As you will learn, there are different techniques and wordage to handle these situations. At the same time, sometimes, depending on the comment, a simple custom apologetic message will suffice.
Secret #1: Avoid the typical apology
Whenever a company experiences any form of complaint or negative feedback, they usually give the same type of apology. Does this sound familiar to you?
“Since *Insert Name Here* has been established nearly 50 years ago, we have been dedicated to insuring our customers are happy with our product. It deeply saddens our team to know that we did not satisfy nor exceed your expectations.”
Naturally, you might think this is a quick escape to handle any comment. Today, business has changed and so must customer service. Look at the sample again and read the primary part of the apology. It’s all about the company, not the customer!
If you want to make a difference and make your customers happy, it’s essential to put them first. How do you do it? Well, it begins with developing a customer service policy and management plan where the business insures the customer’s needs are always first. One GREAT example of customer service management is Disney.
Take a look at how they have mastered customer service on Disney’s Guest Relations Page and the wealth of options they offer their guests at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/help/.
Instead of looking at individuals as customers, merely people that purchase “stuff”, Disney refers to their customers as guests. In this mentality, they treat everyone at their stores or parks as guests. What you need to do is find a way to treat your customers in such a way where they feel like their concerns are being heard and handled.
Many companies around the world will base their customer service policies on the Disney example: guests always come first and do whatever can be done to ensure that the guest is happy. Lesson of the day: avoid the fake apologies and begin to connect with your audience on a whole new level.
Secret #2: Cool, calm and collected
You have heard of staying cool, calm and collected. That mentality could not be truer when handling negative comments on social media. It’s important that you take a couple of things into consideration prior to even engaging with a customer.
- The customer could have experienced something negative either at a physical store or online.
- The customer might easily get agitated.
- The individual who posted the negative comment could be a social media troll.
- The customer could be having a bad day.
- Your product or service could be at fault.
Any scenario could be the source of your negative comment. In numerous cases, any insinuation of pointing blame or guilt would just stimulate an argument or fight. Remember, you are not responding to a negative comment in front of 5-10 people; your entire audience and social media platform can see this.
To properly handle negative comments, take the time to realize the situation at hand. Place yourself in an understanding position and know that your company or product is not always the right answer. This will help you generate a genuine and honest response. Now, if the individual is clearly trying to trigger a fight, diffuse the situation with an apology/solution combination or simply delete the message.
Secret #3: Quick responses, quick solutions
Social media managers and marketers alike can almost all agree that your response time is just as important as the negative comment itself. If you are passionate about handling negative comments, it’s of high importance to respond quickly with quick solutions.
There is a reason many businesses will hire social media managers or consultants to handle specific problems, such as negative comments. You see, the faster your response time is, the better your company will look. If a company waits more than 24 hours to post a response, it could do more damage than you might think.
Consider this if you are debating on hiring a social media manager. A late response may cause or represent negative feelings or beliefs, such as:
- Unresponsive companies become undesirable future businesses.
- No longer be interested in buying products from your company anymore.
- Customers may share their experiences with friends, families or across numerous social media platforms.
- Some customers may even share their experiences with your company across numerous blogs, newspapers or magazines.
Secret #4: Behind the scenes
Numerous methods on this list are involved on the front lines, but that does not mean you always need to handle negative comments in this manner. In some cases, it is justifiable to take the situation behind the scenes. You may be asking, “How do you do this with a negative comment?” It’s easy!
- Recognize the negative comment and decipher whether it’s a social media troll.
- If the comment seems genuine and legitimate, reach out to the customer with a message like this:
- “Thank you, NAME, for taking the time to let us know about your experience with our product or service. If you did not know, we truly do care about your opinion and experience. We want to help you out with this case, could you please send our company an email at…”
- The other alternative is to give the customer the opportunity to message a customer service representative over live-chat such as Facebook Messenger.
- Once you have taken the situation behind the scenes, take the time to go the extra mile for your customer. If they took the time to email or message you, give them the benefit of a doubt.
Secret #5: Set guidelines and rules
Given the power of social media, you should never delete a negative comment or review from a customer. Any negative comment or review can easily be used to your advantage. Now, there are certain cases where negative comments have stretched a bit too far.
If you are noticing an influx of negative comments from social media trolls, which many companies experience nowadays, it may be time to set guidelines and rules on your social media page. This is a simple procedure that can help protect you and show a level of professionalism in the customer service department.
To set guidelines, all you are going to do is classify what is considered as negative and developed parameters for what type of comments are acceptable and not acceptable. This will provide you with a platform and reason to delete negative or unwanted comments that are merely attempts to stir arguments or defame the company.
For example, an author, Tim Ferriss, created parameters and a comment policy that can be utilized across any platform. Look at how he creatively intertwined a serious policy with a tad bit of humor:
Take the time to establish rules and guidelines for your social media pages and let your customers know critical feedback is acceptable; however, rude or distasteful content or any post that may break the rules and regulations of the platform itself are subject to be deleted or reported.
Becoming the social media and customer service king
With these five proven methods, you will become the customer service king on social media. Bring forth a friendly, inviting and positive tone, and the rest is pure tactics. As king or queen, it’s time to put on your crown and do what kings and queens do best: rule.