Dealing with an unhappy customer is always a tough situation. Dealing with an unhappy customer in an online or social media setting can be an even tougher situation – given the brevity of word limits, the ambiguity of words and tones used and meant, and the fact that it’s harder to show emotion through a keyboard. So, here are three things to consider before dealing with a negative comment or review on social media.
1) Be thankful, they’re providing valuable feedback
You don’t always have to literally thank them for the feedback (but sometimes it’s nice to say something like “We appreciate your honest feedback”). But seriously, be thankful they’re giving you ideas for improvement. This is valuable information for next time. You can always find ways to improve the user experience. Think of it as a learning experience. You may have made a mistake you didn’t even realize you were making or could have done something a little bit differently. Now you know. And, they are giving you this info and feedback for free. People pay for this type of thing – opinion surveys, user-testing for websites and apps, etc.. You get this usable feedback for free. The customer is taking the time out of their day to let you know how you could make your business better. They are likely going to discuss their experience with friends and family through word of mouth anyway, social media gives them the chance to include you in the conversation. Be thankful!
2) Take it with a grain of salt
The reality is you can’t please everyone, all the time. Don’t take it personally. It’s a very hard thing to do when you’re the owner or manager of a business or page. But it’s essential to handle your response in a calm and professional manner. Remember, for every unhappy review or response there are likely going to be many more who have enjoyed the experience enough not to provide feedback. It’s much easier (and top of mind) to send feedback when you have a negative experience rather than a positive experience.
3) See their side of things
This can be a tough one. Especially if you own the business you’re representing or have a strong connection to it. You don’t always have to agree with what they are saying but knowing where they are coming from and how they see things is important. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve been disappointed over an event, experience, situation, transaction, etc. Therefore, we can all relate to having a less than stellar experience and understand what sort of mindframe they are coming from. People are in the moment and upset. That’s understandable. They’ll say some things that might upset you, but that’s okay – take it and learn for next time. Jumping to your own defence isn’t always the best option and on the flipside, completely ignoring them isn’t always the best thing either (as mentioned above, they are taking time out of their day to help you improve). Remember, there’s someone else (a real human-being) on the other side of the screen that you are responding to. Be polite, be professional and be calm. Understanding their viewpoint gives you the chance to respond in an appropriate and constructive way.
So there you have it – remember and follow these three simple ideas the next time you have to deal with negative feedback on social media or review sites. If you’d like to discuss social media approaches further, you can always drop us a line!