At some point, most companies eventually must deal with customers who are less than happy with them. Even if you’re doing everything by the book, there are bound to be occasions when customers become frustrated. However, it’s how you handle those situations that will make all the difference.
Negative comments can hurt your brand. Frustrated customers will not want to do repeat business with you, and their comments could steer other people away from you, as well. However, if you handle these types of social media interactions with care, you may be able to win back the trust and confidence of those customers (and maybe pick up some new ones in the bargain).
Determine whether to respond, ignore, or delete
In most cases, it’s best to respond to negative comments right when you see them (or when your emotions have died down a bit and you can respond calmly). However, there may be some cases where it’s best to simply ignore or delete them. We wouldn’t recommend doing that often, though. The only time you should really consider deleting a comment is when it is blatantly abusive, contains offensive language, or seems to be spam. First, calculate if the person is “trolling” you or if this is genuinely an upset customer, so you can respond (or not) accordingly. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “troll,” these are the people on the internet who purposely try to get a rise out of others. Simply put, they enjoy creating trouble.
Always show compassion
In many cases, you’ll want to respond to a negative comment empathetically. You could say something like, “I’m so sorry that happened. Our company would like to offer a solution to help make this right.” If you have an immediate solution, let the customer know what you’d like to do for them. If you’re unsure what the customer needs to remedy the situation, you could ask them how you might further assist them and solve the problem at hand. Also, when communicating with your customer, use their name. It personalizes the exchange.
Choose to address your conversation publicly or privately
You have the option of either keeping the conversation public or taking it offline. There can be benefits in both realms. Online, others will see your empathetic and thoughtful response to them. They’ll be able to view both the customer’s verbiage and your own. And, of course, if you pull it offline, no one will be able to see your conversation.
The topic of the discussion will help you determine the best way to respond. Either way, at least start off the conversation online by letting your customer know that you have heard them, that you’re sorry this happened, and that your company would like to figure out a beneficial solution for them. If you want to take the discussion offline, you can ask them to reach out to you directly by phone, email, or direct message to address the situation further.
The key component to addressing these issues is making sure your customer feels like you genuinely care about them. You need to show compassion when working with these folks. Take time to hear them out and address their needs if possible.
Be timely in your response
You do need to respond in a timely manner. Customers will likely become angrier if they must wait longer. They may also leave you more negative comments. Of course, other customers will see if you let negative comments go unaddressed. By quickly responding, you can help resolve the situation with the angry customer and avoid scaring away future customers. Keep in mind, your customers can see how active you are on social media, so if you ignore their comment and keep publishing other posts and comments, they’ll begin to feel ignored and dismissed, which will result in further frustration.
Introduce yourself when responding
When dealing with a frustrated customer it’s a good idea to introduce yourself. Customers will be more receptive when there is a human element to the conversation as opposed to just a “corporate entity.” You can say something like, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this, [insert customer’s name]! I’m [insert your name], and I’d really like to help solve this dilemma.”
Overall, most angry customers post negative comments because they just want to be heard. They want to know that the company is listening and that they care. That’s why it’s important to take time for these customers. Show them attention, lend them an ear, and demonstrate your friendly demeanor. And, no matter what you do, avoid letting your emotions boil over and escalating the discussion into an argument. At first, it may feel like you’re defending yourself and the company, but this response will just end up hurting your business in the long run. Remember, it’s all about appeasing the customer and creating a great reputation, not just to retain current customers but to acquire new ones.
If you’re looking for help managing your social media, look no further than Headline Consultants. We offer social media strategy, social media advertising, and social management, along with a host of other digital content marketing solutions. Contact us today to get started!