A client received negative posts on their Facebook page. She was concerned the negative comment would hurt their reputation if customers saw the post. She called to inquire if she should she delete the negative comment, ignore it, or respond?

Using social media channels such as Facebook for your business, provides you the opportunity to engage in two-way conversations, helps to humanize your brand and can help you build trust and loyalty with your customers. A successful two-way relationship with your customers via Facebook is dependent on transparency and authenticity. Thus, it is important to handle a customer complaint via your social media networks the same way you would handle a complaint if you were meeting the customer in person.

Five rules for businesses on how to manage negative posts on social media:

  1. Respond Timely. You should respond quickly. 66% of today’s consumer expects to receive a response the same day*. Your prompt response lets the person and others who read the post know that you take it seriously.
  2. Be Human. People want to know they have been heard.  Respond sincerely as if this person was standing in front of you. Most of the time, when someone responds negatively, it is because they encountered a problem with your brand. They are mad and/or frustrated and do not know how else to get your attention. Taking control of the situation.  This is a great opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.
  3. Own the issue. If there was a lapse in service or a product did not function as it should, acknowledge it. Apologize. “I am sorry”, goes a long way to building authentic relationships. You want your customer to know, ‘We hear you and we value you.
  4. Provide a solution. We want to make this right, quickly. Have customers been experiencing slower than normal service at peak times of the day? If so, let them know you are working on a solution. Your goal is to turn an upset customer into an ambassador.
  5. Almost… Never delete a post. Would you ignore a customer if they approached you in person to share a complaint or concern? Of course not. The same is true for social posts. Always remember to treat a social post as if the person was standing in front of you. If the commenter continues to write negative posts after you have attempted to solve the problem, address the concern online, we recommend you send a direct message or call them directly. If a post is nonsensical, includes profanity, spam or is a blatant negative attack, you should immediately remove the post. If the commenter is simply creating trouble for you, you should feel free to block them.

Here’s an example of a negative post and how to respond:
“I will never go back there. I had to wait too long to see a doctor.”

Possible response: “We are sorry to hear about your long wait. 90% of our patients are seen by a physician within 30 minutes of arrival. There are times when the wait gets longer due to so many people needing care at the same time. To help manage this, we have added a new online scheduling tool that allows you to make an appointment ahead of time on our website. (Click to link to new tool). We hope you will try this the next time you need medical help.”

The good news

The good news is that people appreciate when you recognize them and respond. It feels personal, showing that you are a caring organization, there to solve problems and create the best experience possible. Social media can be one of your best sources of understanding customer needs, gaps in business and as way to bring your best ambassadors to life.

We do urge our clients to create social media response guidelines to assure that your team is all in alignment with expectations and approach.

Give Cindy a call at: 617-241-800 x 241 if you want to learn more about how you can leverage social media to build your business.