Feedback or Backlash?
Have you recently seen or been told about a negative comment directed at your company on social media? Or read a nasty comment on Facebook from a disgruntled customer about the lack of good customer service or a bad review about one of your products?
What starts as a single negative comment in a simple post from a community member can quickly turn into a problem. To ignore a negative posting is to let it ride and take shape like a giant tsunami that could overwhelm your ability to stay in business. How?
Social media is broadcasting 24/7: The beauty of social media is that it‘s a two-way dialogue, unlike TV and print ads. Remember, these media platforms are live, 24/7—which means that a simple blurb posted at 3 a.m. about your company, your level of customer service (or lack thereof), your products, or your political or community activities could—in an instant—trigger a consumer boycott or community backlash.
If there is a post mentioning your company, even including a positive remark, post a response immediately. Ultimately, the solution is about taking action beyond the initial posting response.
Managing a negative social media response is about taking three basic actions: respond, acknowledge, and overcorrect. Reach out and say, “thank you for sharing, caring, and for bringing it to our attention.“ Then keep engaging and make sure you offer a positive resolution if necessary—and do it on the social media platform where the issue originated, not just through a private email or phone call. If the original issue was aired out in public, you will have to verify your sincerity by engaging the public as a witness to your commitment to amend the issue. Turn that backlash into feedback.
Every social media interaction between a business and its audience is an opportunity to learn and adapt. The best way to prevent further negative postings is to approach your response with empathy, understanding, and curiosity. When a problem is “voiced” on social media, it often signals a disconnect between your business and your customer base. Be proactive, ask the negative commentor for more information—not in a defensive tone, but in an attempt to truly understand how your business can improve its customer service or operations.
Social media crises tend to have one common denominator: the company is not meeting the consumer‘s expectations. With or without a response to a negative posting, your customers will always find new ways to make their anger known if their expectations aren’t being met. Maintaining an interactive social media presence with your online customers will ensure you a steady stream of valuable, constructive feedback. Most customers love it when you ask for their feedback because it shows you value and respect them.
Remember: You don’t solve a backlash; you respond and learn from it. Feedback from someone’s complaint may inspire you to make a change in your business that could lead to more customers and more revenue.
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