Social media has evolved to become more than just a place to socialize: it has now become a platform to buy and sell, to market and advertise brands, and more importantly, to handle customer complaints.
Social Media as a Customer Service Platform
A study showed that 54% of consumers prefer to use social media over email or phone for customer service.
It has also been found that younger consumers between ages 18 and 34 trust online reviews and treat them as much as recommendations from friends.
More significantly, customers with negative experiences are more likely to share their grievances on social media.
In fact, a study found that 82% of customers specifically hunt for negative reviews to make an informed decision about their purchases.
5 Ways to Handle Negative Comments on Social Media
Not all negative comments are for the worse. If done the proper way, answering complaints on social media can actually boost customer advocacy by 25%.
Here are the 5 best ways to handle negative comments about your brand on social media:
1. Give timely and quick responses
Timing is everything when it comes to social media, and the same applies to responses to customer feedback.
If resources permit, it’s recommended to hire a dedicated social media community manager, especially if you receive numerous customer queries.
The quicker you can appease an irate customer, the better.
One essential thing to do here is to take a proactive approach by social listening. By doing so, you get to hear the sentiments of users in real-time, and you don’t have to wait when they do reach out to you directly about their concerns.
2. Acknowledge publicly but resolve privately when appropriate
A crucial aspect of handling unpleasant comments on social media is for brands to show that they are transparent, attentive, and open.
To do just that, respond to comments publicly and acknowledge the problem in your response. However, wherever possible, resolve the matter privately especially if you need to collect personally identifiable information, such as an account number.
If the comment is particularly toxic, it’s also best to move the conversation privately and away from the spotlight.
3. Be polite and sincerely apologize
While boilerplate responses can save you time, it may only be helpful if it’s a commonly known issue.
As much as you can, and especially with negative feedback, personalize your message.
A study found that 87% of customers feel more positively about a brand if there is personally relevant content in their customer query responses. A few ways to personalize your message:
- Mention the customer’s name, or if the social media name is vague, mention their username
- Acknowledge their problem by re-stating it as close to how they mentioned it and summarize the issue
- Offer an explanation of what caused the problem
- Sincerely apologize
It must be taken note that the majority of those who voice out their grievances on social media do it to seek out an apology.
4. Provide a concrete solution and always follow-through
Another essential aspect of responding to customer complaints is to make the person feel heard and that his/her concerns are being addressed.
Provide a concrete solution to the issue. It helps if your business has clear policies on returns, exchanges, replacements, and refunds.
And most importantly, always follow-through with the solution offered.
5. Never argue with a customer; stay professional and positive
Lastly, never argue with a customer. This seems like common sense, but it’s still important to mention this.
Ignore inflammatory statements and maintain a professional, cool air to your responses. If you fight fire with fire, this kind of response will reflect on your brand in a negative way.
How you respond to negative comments matters more to customers, and nearly half of consumers tend to post about their positive interactions on social media. This, in turn, prompts repeat purchases in the future.
Social media has given consumers the power to call out brands and to demand accountability. It is the brand’s responsibility to leverage this and win back their customers, and it starts with a good response.
Read more about social media marketing on our blog at https://www.ilfusion.com/blog.