Social media has created a shift in the way customers react towards companies when something goes wrong. Before social media, customers would have to call a phone number with little hope of speaking to a live person. They would write a letter and send it through snail mail, only to wait weeks or even months to get a response back from the company. Now people are turning to social media to have their issues with companies resolved, and they don’t want to wait to get helped.
Because of the nature of social media, a complaint from one unhappy customer could easily go viral and potentially be seen by millions of people. An example would be a controversy from earlier this year when a customer complained that Subway’s “Footlong” sandwich was really only 11 inches long. Had the customer walked into the store to complain, there would have been very little impact on the company. However, this customer took his complaint to social media, and it had a major impact. The Associated Press called the complaint a “crisis”, and the issue went viral. As a company, it’s important to deal with negativity on social media to prevent complaints from turning in to disasters.
Here are three things you can do when people are negative to your company on social media:
- Identify legitimate complaints and engage: The best thing you can do when a customer complains on your social media page is to engage with them. It’s important to be sincere and professional at all times, because many of your customers will not be afraid to share your comments with their friends; who in turn will often share the comments with even more friends, which can turn viral. If a mistake was made, then it’s ok to admit fault as long as you are seeking a way to resolve the issue with your customer. Most people understand that mistakes happen, and can be quick to forgive if you let them know that you want to make things right.
- Identify the trolls: Trolls are people who like to visit your social media page just to say rude comments to you and your customers. Most often they don’t have specific complaints and their ramblings don’t make sense. There are different factors that motivate people to become trolls, but they all have one thing in common: there’s nothing that you can say or do that will help them or make them happy. Once you have identified the trolls on your social media pages, don’t be afraid to add them to your ignore list or ban them. This way you are not exhausting your resources on issues that can’t be resolved.
- Find ways to improve: If you are trying to find ways to improve your company and its bottom line, negative feedback on social media can be a great place to start. If you see a number of people complaining about the same issues, identify those issues and see if there are ways that you can make improvements. After the improvements have been implemented, you can send a message back to your customers and let them know you heard their complaints and that you’ve improved! Your customers will have the satisfaction of knowing that their opinion mattered, which can strengthen the bonds between them and your company.
Social media has become the place for customers to express their frustrations when they have bad experiences with companies. Because of the nature of social media, one voice can quickly be amplified into thousands of voices. It’s important to act as quickly as possible in a professional matter to engage with customers and help resolve their issues. You may identify a few trolls along the way, but once you’ve filtered out the trolls and identified legitimate complaints, it can be easy to make improvements and strengthen the bonds between your company and your customers.
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