What’s your strategy when someone leaves a negative comment on your company’s Facebook Page or blog? Do you get angry and fight back? Do you simply ignore or delete them? Do you try to make things right?
If the third option is your prefer method of choice, keep doing what you’re doing. If you were leaning towards the first two options, however, you probably want to keep reading.
When it comes to angry comments on social media, negative customer reviews, and confrontational comments on your blog, the best way to respond starts with an actual response. But not just any response; you need to respond in a way that strengthens your brand’s reputation – not diminish it. To help you do just that, here are 8 tips for responding to confrontational comments about your brand:
Don’t Feed the Trolls!
Remember when I said the best way to respond starts with an actual response? Well, forget about that for a second. When you’re dealing with a troll, the only rule that applies is don’t feed them. Some people on the Internet just want to watch the world burn, and you can’t fuel their flames.
Respond, Don’t Delete
Unless the comment is totally inappropriate and/or irrelevant to the topic at hand, don’t just delete it because it’s negative. Today’s buyers want transparency, and responding to criticism head on is about as transparent as it gets. Not only will you be able to address the commenter’s issue, but you’ll also show everyone else how you handle it. And if you handle it well, it’ll be transparent to everyone that you’ll handle your business in a similar, respectable manner.
When users contact a brand on social media, 66% expect a response in the same day and 41% expect a response in less than hour. While you don’t have to respond right away, it’s important that you respond somewhat quickly. You don’t want any negativity to linger, and the faster you address the issue, the more likely you are to solve it. As a general rule of thumb, always try to respond within the same business day.
Don’t Automate Responses
Though you want to be quick to respond, you shouldn’t feel the need to respond to every comment with the same generic response. If you want to show the commenter that you care about the issue at hand, address their comment personally and thoughtfully.
Contact the Customer Privately
No one likes to air their dirty laundry for the world to see. Rather than commenting back and forth over and over on social media, send the user a private message or ask to talk over email so you can resolve the issue behind closed doors. When you’re done, post an update on their original comment to show others that you were able to work things out.
Provide Clear, Concise Answers
When someone comes to you with an issue, the last thing you want to do is make things more confusing. Stick to the facts, and provide clear and concise answers to any questions they have. If you can focus on finding a solution, it’s easier for them to forgive and forget the problem.
Use Social Monitoring
Let’s face it; you can’t catch every complaint that comes your company’s way. By using social monitoring tools like Hootsuite, however, you can easily track brand mentions and address any complaints. Your critics won’t always post directly to your profile, or mention you directly on Twitter, so make sure you’re monitoring all mentions and not just the ones you’re tagged in.
Last but not least, never forget to stand your ground whenever the situation is appropriate. If someone has the wrong idea about your brand, take this opportunity to prove them wrong. No need for any "I told you so's," but don't be afraid to correct any misconceptions or stand up for your organization. Take this story of the Chinese restaurant owner vs. Harvard professor, for example. Despite being threatened with bogus legal actions for overcharging the customer, Mr. Duan handled the situation calmly and professionally, without being pushed around – which won the respect of thousands of people across the country.
Though every business obviously wants good reviews, it's important that you don't freak out over every negative one. While some instances might prove to be irreconcilable, many issues can be resolved by simply confronting the problem head on and working your way towards a solution with the customer – all while maintaining a professional demeanor. Not only will this strengthen your relationship with the individual commenting, but you'll also prove to every other visitor that you'd treat them with the same respect and handle their problems quickly and calmly.