Negative feedback, or ‘trolling’ is a business owner’s worst nightmare on social media. Somebody dislikes your product or has had a bad experience and they decide to take you on in a social media battle. They write mean comments, they encourage others to avoid purchasing from you and they are openly offensive. What are you supposed to do? How can you minimise damage to your brand’s reputation? Here are our tips for dealing with negative feedback on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
#1 Do not ignore the problem
This is a big one - don’t ignore it. Acknowledge it. Sometimes a user just wants to know they’re being heard. If you ignore it, chances are it won’t go away and it will just grow angrier and hurl more abuse your way.
#2 Do apologise
Most of the time, even if there is no need to apologise, you should - you will instantly appear more human but professional at the same time. It’s also likely that other users will be watching and waiting for your response, so you need to stay calm and level-headed.
A simple sorry can sometimes be a much more powerful weapon than a tirade of reciprocal abuse.
The exception to this rule is where your company has been accused of promoting something harmful or illegal, in which case an apology could be seen as an admittance of liability. Take care in this instance and seek advice before responding. Publicly, you could encourage the unhappy customer to call your office to discuss their complaint, which demonstrates to other followers that you are helpful and receptive. Often, you will find that a complaint is less irate by telephone - it’s very easy to be angry on social media when there isn’t a person as such to speak with.
#3 Do try to agree when appropriate
Sometimes it might work to agree. If they’re giving you negative feedback then at least they are passionate. Take that passion and turn it into constructive criticism.
Maybe they are angry that your service is slow. If this is true, then acknowledge it and say how you are working to improve this aspect of your customer service.If the complainant has a legitimate reason for being unhappy, it’s important that you take their feedback on board in order to improve your offering.
#4 Do not block the user
It can be tempting to just silence any user who is leaving bad comments on your business page. But that can often be detrimental. Maybe they will come back on a new account or on a spouse’s account and then all of your other followers will be aware that you blocked them. No matter how badly they were behaving, you will present as though you have something to hide and that you don’t care about your customers. Not a great reputation for your brand.
There are some situations where it might be appropriate however. If the user breaks the ‘house rules’ of Facebook then look into ways of blocking the user. These house rules might involve things like offensive language, spamming etc.Even so, this action should only be taken as a last resort!
#5 Do encourage the conversation to carry on elsewhere
The best way to deal with these users is to encourage them to take it offline and air their concerns using a less public platform whether this is via email, phone or instore.
This way, your other users don’t experience this negative atmosphere and associate it with your brand. Take it away from social media as soon as you can.
It can be tricky!
It can definitely be a tricky thing to predict and plan for but it is so important to keep a clear head - it can be very easy to get defensive and watch your brand reputation plummet. Do you have any other tips for dealing with these trolls? If so, let us know on Facebook or Twitter.