How do you handle negative comments?

Posted by on Monday, October 4th, 2010 in platyBlog | No Comments »

“I had an awful experience here and won’t come back!”

How would you respond to this comment on Facebook or Twitter? The easiest response would be to delete the comment. Then no one will ever know it existed, and no one will think bad things about your company, right?

Wrong. People DID see that comment. Chances are, it was posted at 2 a.m. and you’re seeing it for the first time at work the next morning. As for the person who wrote it? You can bet they are regularly checking your fan page to see if you or another user has acknowledged their post. Imagine what could happen if they come back to your page and notice the comment is missing? Potentially, this could become a social media disaster. The fan’s response might be something along the lines of, “Hey, why did you delete my comment?!” Next, your other fans see it and comment, “What! I can’t believe they did that!”

Is it worth it? Definitely not. Chances are, your establishment DID screw up. Chances are, you ARE responsible for this customer’s negative experience. The best thing to do is to take a deep breath and respond. Sure, you’re cringing reading the negative comment, but this is your chance to redeem yourself. Respond as soon as you can telling the user how sorry you are about the negative experience they had. Put a direct phone number or email right on the post and ask them to contact you to provide more information. Now what do other fans see? They see that you take care of complaints and that you are a responsible company concerned about your customers. They also see you are truly are sorry for the bad experience and are taking proper measures to avoid a similar situation in the future. I’ve even seen cases where the person who complained comments back saying, “thanks for responding, I’ll definitely contact you and provide more information!” Even better, depending on the nature of the complaint, you may decide to offer that customer a special discount or free gift for the inconvenience. The customer, in turn, posts how great your company handled their complaint. How about that for turning a negative situation into positive PR for the company?

One of the best quotes I’ve heard regarding company bashing on social networks is from Platypus’ own Dan Trzinski. At presentations, he mentions people always ask how to get rid of negative comments on social media. His response? “Provide better customer service!” How true is that?

How have you handled customer complaints? Can you share any experiences, good or bad?

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