It’s happened to all of us. We work hard to publish an article or a social media post only to have someone come along and respond with a negative or defamatory comment. It’s disheartening, frustrating, upsetting and even angering and it takes every ounce of patience to not want to write back an equally negative and snarky reply. I’ve been there, and I’ve felt the same way. But I can honestly tell you that the best way to respond to negativity on social media is with positivity.
Sir Isaac Newton described his 3rd Law of Motion by explaining that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” In elementary Mathematics, we are taught that a negative and positive number of the same absolute value cancel each other out in an equation (ie. -4 + 4 = 0) What does this have to do with social media? Well, the same notion of countering forces can be applied to all positive and negative forces, energy and comments.
As a rule of thumb in customer service, it is always best to respond to customer complaints in a calm, professional manner. As business owners, we need to recognize that the customer just wants to feel validated for their complaint. This can be handled in a number of ways, but it is always best to acknowledge their negative experience and try to offer a solution. There may not always be a mutually agreeable solution, but remember that an angry customer has more potential to do damage to your business’ reputation than a happy one.
Here are some important Do’s and Don’t’s when considering how to respond to customer complaints, reviews or feedback on Social Media….
What not to do –
- Don’t ignore it. It might be tempting to try to delete the comment, or hope it quickly fades down in people’s newsfeeds, but there is never any guarantee. It is always better to respond and address the problem than ignore it and hope it goes away.
- Don’t respond back with negativity. In the world of debates, two negatives never equal a positive! Responding with anger or offence is just going to add fuel to the fire. It’s upsetting for everyone involved and surrounds your business with negative energy.
- Don’t get into a battle. There is nothing to be gained from trying to have the final say. Anyone following the discussion on your social network will be able to “see” the entire battle unfolding and each of your followers has an easy click to unfollow you and refuse to see any future posts from your business.
What to do instead –
- DO take time to formulate an appropriate response before typing any reply to the comment. If possible, ask a colleague or trusted friend to read your reply first before you publish it online. Taking time not only allows you to respond with a clear head, but it also has likely given your disgruntled customer a chance to cool off too.
- DO respond with professionalism and offer to address the complainant’s concerns offline, perhaps via email address or over the phone. Offer a solution to the problem right up front so that the next step is in their hands to either take you up on the offer, or to walk away.
- DO end the discussion quickly, after a single, well composed reply. There is nothing to be gained by carrying on the discussion if you first response did everything to address the complaint, offer a solution and provide a non-social media form of communication to use to continue the conversation.
Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over for years. Teach Me Social now offers services ranging from training sessions for small business owners and their teams, to full-service social media account management. Visit teachmesocial.ca to learn more about our service offerings or to contact us today for a no obligation consultation, including an audit of your existing social media channels.