Once upon a time, social media was a simple tool used to catch
up with old high school friends, connect with distant relatives or
boast about your clever kids. Nowadays social media platforms are
much more than that. Social media is one the most popular and
effective ways (if done right) that businesses can market to their
online customers. A by-product of this however, is the ability for
customers to voice their dissatisfaction instantaneously.
If you decide to play in the social media arena, it is essential
that your business knows how to handle complaints and bad PR
effectively so as to avoid a #socialmediafail. Here's what we
Get in contact instantly!
Don't sit on a bad review hoping it will go away. It
won't! Silence will only create an opportunity for further
criticism. Responding to the post immediately shows the customer
(and other bystanders) that their feedback is important to you and
that their complaint has been heard.
Take a two-pronged approach
As discussed, time is of the essence to you and your brand but
how you respond to the comment is just as important. Due to the
comment being displayed publicly, it is essential that you also
respond to the criticism publicly too. This shows the entire
audience of the thread that your brand is committed to getting to
the bottom of issues that arise. We also suggest that you contact
the user directly via a private message. Here you can request the
customer's personal details such as mobile number, email
address or address which can be used to help remedy the situation
e.g. provide a voucher to your store, action a refund, etc.
Time and time again we see rant posts commencing with "So I
posted this a few days ago but you deleted my post." Deleting
bad feedback or criticism of you or your brand escalates an already
inflamed situation! Posts that start off this way also attract more
attention from onlookers as a sense of mystery regarding the
deleted post ensues. Removing negative comments online is also
quite literally the virtual way of sweeping things under the
carpet. This shows your online audience that you or your brand is
not concerned with the opinions of valued customers.
Apologise – don't suck up!
Be careful with an apology – as it could do more harm than
good. Overboard apologies can appear insincere. Also, avoid the
line "We apologise BUT" – these apologies could
aggravate the situation as it may come across defensive and
dismissive. Keep your apology short and sincere – one
sentence max! Then focus the rest of your response on ways you
intend to address the situation.
Thank your critic
Ending your response with a thank you demonstrates to your
online following that your brand appreciates constructive feedback.
Further, a thank you is a nice way to end the public conversation
about this issue - extended communications should be done
privately. Just remember you don't need to be pen pals or have
a keyboard battle with the critic.
In some cases, it's ok to push back!
Just remember the customer isn't always right and if a
comment is made that is inappropriate or offensive to your staff,
do not be afraid to call the critic out on it. This shows that as a
brand you do not tolerate discriminatory or offensive language or
behaviour and that you are prepared to stand by your staff if
Want more? Check out some of our favourite responses to bad PR
The report gives helpful mitigation and remediation advice for organisations, to prevent and respond to, cyber threats.
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