Scarier Than a Halloween Goblin
“I’m scared to death of having negative comments posted to my sites.” That is a sentence I hear very often when consulting with clients who are new to social media marketing. No business owner wants to be seen as anything less than top tier in his/her field. But with the advent of social media advertising, feedback of ALL types is instantly viewable by the whole world. The positive is wonderful; the not-so-positive is embarrassing, and can be harmful to a company’s reputation. No one is immune; we are all potential targets of negative tongue wagging. Our best and only defense is to take quick and appropriate action in order to turn those potential negatives into resounding positives.
What NOT to Do
As in any situation, there are actions to take, and those that should be avoided lest we aggravate an already less than optimal situation. Do NOT:
- ignore negative comments;
- delete them;
- respond defensively, causing an increasing spiral of negativity as well as displaying disrespect for the customer.
These actions give the impression of poor customer service. They also lend credence to the complaint lodged by the irate client.
Positive Steps to Take
In order to prevent damage and resolve the negative issue on a positive note, we need to:
- respond as quickly as possible. The longer an unaddressed complaint sits, the worse impression it will leave on visitors to our sites.
- answer with genuine concern for the client’s issue, and express our desire to satisfactorily resolve the matter.
- attempt to move the conversation off the page, into the private message realm, if the resolution process looks as if it will entail a multitude of message exchanges. But make that request publicly, so other site visitors don’t get the impression that we aren’t working to resolve the issue.
- Be sure to end the publicly viewable thread with a positive, reassuring comment referencing the satisfactorily resolved issue.
Spot the Trolls
Of course, the tips listed above pertain to actual customer service issues. There may be instances when our companies are targeted by “trolls.” Such posters are easily identified by the nature of their comments, and in how obviously their intent is strictly to harass. In these cases deleting the offending comments and blocking the trolls are the only viable alternatives. Reporting this kind of issue to Facebook administrators may be a necessary step as well. Facebook is not known for its own customer service, but it has tightened its security since going public. This type of behavior is not as widely tolerated as it once was. Lastly, if our reputations are solid, we shouldn’t be surprised to find some of our genuine fans defending us. That action would certainly turn a negative situation into a positive one!
Scary or not, companies are at a huge disadvantage if they are not sharing their advertising messages across the World Wide Web. Staying vigilant, monitoring platform activity, and responding quickly and with genuine concern are the best ways to ensure that we maintain great professional reputations.
What other steps can we take to turn negative comments into positive experiences? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.