How to Deal with Negative Comments Online
All businesses have to deal with it but how do you handle it properly?
Negative comments online is a reality for most businesses using social media. Most companies will receive them and it becomes a situation that requires due diligence. However, there are tactful approaches to make the process a lot easier for businesses and their customers.
Social media has now become one of the main avenues for customers to make complaints to businesses. This means that businesses have to incorporate social media within their customer service policies/procedures. Especially online where the responses from a business will reveal a lot about a company and its practices.
That being said, here are some tips for handling negative comments online:
1. Stay On Top of Your Business’s Presence Online
It is pertinent that businesses keep on top of their messages, comments and mentions. When it comes to comments and messages, companies must ensure they have a procedure around their response time frame. This can be within an hour or only between a few hours a day, for example between 9 am - 5 pm. It is imperative that the company let the customer know this information whether it be on their page or as an instant reply.
Mentions are equally important, this can be done manually by searching the company name and hashtags across platforms, however, that can be extremely time-consuming. There are also companies like Brand 24 and Mention that can keep tabs on the business’s name and what is being said.
2. Types of Negative Comments and how to Address Them
There are many types of negative comments, for example, there is a difference between, a negative opinion about a business vs a complaint about a company’s business or service. Knowing the difference is important because the latter requires a response.
Extra Tip: Facebook has a profanity filter to avoid comments on a business page that include any offensive language. This can help declutter the comment section and save a company time when addressing negative comments.
After a while companies will begin to notice the types of complaints they are getting, for example, delivery complaints, product complaints etc. It is important to identify the types of complaints that are received so that a business can implement solutions and have a standard response for these issues until they can be resolved. Knowing and grouping complaints is the first step, then there is the matter of how to address them.
3. A Guide to Handling Negative Responses
How a response is handled by a company says a lot about what that business stands for and how they handle these types of situations. Therefore, it is important that a business has an operational procedure. Some things that a business should consider when coming up with the operational procedure include:
● What is the company’s identity to the public? Family-oriented, modern, innovative. Keep tabs on that and ensure that your communication to the public always maintains this identity.
● What is the tone of the brand: this is essentially the voice of the brand. This will tie into the identity but it is really important to narrow it down, is the tone professional and courteous? Or is the brand friendly and not too formal?
● What are the messaging practices, consider things like, no emojis used when addressing negative responses or never using a passive-aggressive tone.
● Time Frame for answers: specific time period (9 am to 5 pm) or a response within a time frame, within an hour or a maximum of two hours.
Once these factors have been determined it is important to include them in the guide and have them listed in a document for people in the company to reference. Equally, combining this with the types of negative replies a company receives will allow the company to come with a comprehensive and effective Q&A type of document that can guide the company on how to reply to any negative comments that come their way.
Some examples of responses:
Customer Complaint about a faulty/broken product:
Hi (insert customer name here), We are really sorry to hear that, can you please send us your receipt and a photo of the product. Once you send those we will work on getting you an exchange as soon as possible. Thank you!
Customer Complaint about an unpleasant experience at your store:
Hi (insert customer name here), We are really sorry to hear that you had a bad experience in our store. Customer service is very important to us. Would you mind private messaging our page detailing your experience so that we can address it and ensure it doesn’t occur again? Thank you!
Negative comments are the reality for a majority of businesses online but rather than avoiding it having a procedure in place makes the process a lot easier to handle!
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