“Any press is good press” is an old saying bandied about in the pre-digital age. The idea is that if people are talking about what you do, that’s free publicity. The power and reach of social media takes this to a new level. Digital marketing has greatly transformed the way we do business, with incredible benefits available if your strategy is sound and your execution well managed.
To remain competitive in the market, there are tremendous advantages to be gained by successfully leveraging popular social media platforms that help you connect with customers, boost brand awareness, and generate sales leads and conversions. However, without proper strategy and management, your socials can actually do more harm than good for your business.
According to US-based relationship marketing platform, Ambassador, 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
As an unmatched method of direct communication with your audience, social media can also open up a whole new world of potential crisis management where a single complaint could gain momentum and put your brand’s reputation at risk. How you evaluate and respond to any comment, good or bad, has the power to build or destroy trust.
Negative comments can come in many forms – from genuine unhappy customers to internet trolls who solely act to cause offence, provocation and disruption. So what is the best way to manage negative feedback?
Review and evaluate required action
Unless your business is tagged in a comment, it can be easy to miss feedback and the opportunity to respond. There are a number of social listening tools available that can monitor and alert you if negative feedback is detected. Once you are aware of a comment, determine if it appears genuine, and evaluate the concerns raised. Part of the evaluation process may be to consider how to appease your disgruntled customer, perhaps through an offer or an escalation of their concern to be dealt with offline. Regardless, it is important to always respond.
How best to respond
Responding publicly is essential to demonstrate your brand as being transparent, attentive, and customer-service-focused. Take the opportunity to openly do everything you can to decrease customer dissatisfaction. In crafting a response, take your time and ensure it clearly discloses your connection to the business, cites any references necessary to support your response, takes an appropriate tone, and demonstrates credibility.
Once you have posted a suitable response, if further attention is needed, consider moving the conversation into a private message. This will allow you to get more detail about the issue and the customer in order to resolve the problem.
Remember this legitimate feedback is an important way to understand your customers’ expectations, and presents an opportunity to demonstrate your brand’s dedication to resolving issues with transparency and empathy.
To summarise, the key steps to take in managing customer experience and feedback via social media:
- Track comments – negative and positive
- Ensure you respond in a timely manner – many social users expect and measure you by how quickly you respond
- Don’t be afraid to apologise and ensure your response is personalised, genuine, and where possible offers to make up for any inconvenience
- If the problem requires more investigation, take it offline to achieve a satisfactory solution
It costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, making it worth the investment to communicate with sensitivity and empathy, and a clear commitment to your brand and customer satisfaction.