People use Facebook to share their latest thoughts and happenings, where they have been recently, what they have eaten recently and their thoughts on the recent news. Facebook is a place of sharing, with users sharing their opinions about anything with each other.
But when it comes to sharing, not all posts or comments will be positive. People will share their negative experiences they had with your products all over social media, and some of them can be really nasty experiences.
The above screenshot shows an angry customer venting about the service officer of an airline. When most businesses see such angry customer comments, their common reaction would be to delete the comment or not respond to it at all.
But when people complain on your social media presence, it is important to respond to them – immediately.
Every time there’s an angry customer, you’re not just dealing with him or her. You’re dealing with the thousands of other people connected to your social platform who are watching you on dealing with this angry customer.
But that’s not all – when dealing with negative comments, 42 percent of your consumers expect you to reply within 60 minutes, and more than two third of your consumers expect a reply on the same day.
In the world of Facebook, speed is crucial; even more in times of a social media disaster.
The truth is that you will always have people complaining about your products or services, no matter what kind of business you are in, and Facebook is just another channel for them to voice out their unhappiness.
And if you don’t respond to them, this is the cost of the social media disaster!
A lot of companies see Facebook as a double-edged sword. The advantage will be to connect and build relationships with your consumers, and the disadvantage will be handling the negative remarks or feedback.
However, that is not always the case. Negative feedback is not a bad thing, but actually a great opportunity to turn a complainer to a great advocate.
I have seen a lot of successful brands that are able to handle their Facebook disaster and turn the complainers into great advocates, and I have broken down the strategy to dealing with negative comments or handling Facebook disaster into three steps.
Firstly, you have to acknowledge the negative comment. By acknowledging, it can be just a simple, “I have received your feedback and understand your concern, we are looking into the matter right now.”
Never ever direct your complainers to a feedback form, as it is insincere. As the receiver, we should take down the complainer’s details and not have them working on anything except to wait for our investigation results.
Never ever drive your fans to other digital forms like what this brand has done.
By firstly acknowledging, we will be able to reply within 60 minutes, which is the expected time window. As social media evolves, the time window will only get shorter until the replies are instantaneous.
2. Apologize with sincerity
The second step is to apologize with sincerity. When something is truly wrong, the fastest way to be forgiven by anybody is to be truly sorry.
KFC Malaysia was once hit with a social media crisis when a video of their employee was seen playing and tampering with the food. Customer brought their unhappiness on KFC Malaysia’s social media outlets, such as Facebook and YouTube. Within 4 hours, the director of operations broadcasted a video to apologise to their customers, assure that they will set up CCTVs, announce that the staffs have been dealt with, and promised that such incidents will never happen again.
By taking effort to answer and fix the problems, customers will understand the mistake and forgive them, after feeling reassured with the swift and sincere actions.
3. Take it Offline
Lastly, it is to take the matter offline by providing a phone number for the complainer. I had a personal experience with Eurostar where there was a discrepancy between the tickets I booked and the tickets I received. I took to Eurostar’s Facebook page to sort the matter out.
From all that is discussed, you should know by now that social media is not a double edge sword; instead it provides double the benefit. Not only that you get to connect with your consumers, you are able to turn them into raving and convinced customers when there are negative comments.
As a business, increasing loyal brand supporters will definitely increase your profit. From an unlikely source of complainers, you can convert them to the valuable customers you love to have!
Marcus Ho is the co-founder behind the award-winning measurable social media agency, SocialMetric. If you’re interested in learning more measurable and advanced social media strategies to boost sales, consider signing up to the SocialMetric Newsletter.
Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.