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#McFail: Why McDonald's Should Have Followed the ABC’s of Responding to Negative Feedback on Social Media
Posted on January 28th 2012
This has been quite the week for social media blunders, particularly on Twitter. McDonald’s most recent PR stunt is more-commonly being referred to as “#McFail.”
The campaign was intended to shift consumer opinions using the hashtag #McDStories, by tweeting facts about their organic potato farmers in an effort to more closely associate themselves with the positive attributes of organic food. But the current consumer mindset association between ‘organic’ and fast food could not be at further polar opposites.
This tweeting strategy quickly backfired as the campaign became a lightning rod for a backlog of negative public brand sentiment. Consumers began using the hashtag as a vehicle to advocate against McDonald’s by highlighting accusations ranging from drug use to food poisoning.
With this campaign, McDonald’s opened up a free-flowing communications channel with consumers. Social media sites such as Twitter are great tools for marketing and PR campaigns, as they are two-way communication channels which foster engagement between companies and their customers.
However, they also present an unpredictable path for brand-reputation management. In the case of McDonald’s, just a small transition from the predicted course of action led to a diminished brand reputation and an onslaught of negative press.
In order to effectively handle customer feedback, marketers must devise plans which clearly outline a response plan that will demonstrate professionalism, address customer concerns, and most importantly, remain authentic to the brand reputation.
To avoid having your own #McFail, be sure to follow the ABC’s of Responding to Negative Feedback on Social Media.
ABC’s of Responding to Negative Feedback on Social Media
Acknowledge the situation.
Be true to your brand.
Confirm with the customer their exact problem or complaint.
Do not delete any negative feedback.
Engage in dialogue.
Follow your crisis plan.
Go! Responses need to be sent as quickly as possible!
Honesty is key.
Information is important to solving any customer complaint.
Join the conversation.
Keep monitoring even after you resolve a customer complaint.
Listen to the customer.
Monitor 24/7 for any potential situations.
Never attack the customer or accuse them of lying.
On point messaging, always! Never stray from key messages outline in your crisis plan.
Plan, plan and plan.
Quit panicking – you have a plan in place to follow.
Say you are sorry.
The truth will prevail – so be honest.
Understand what the customer is saying.
Verbalize your company’s position on the issue.
Work hard to regain your customers trust.
Xerox copy/pasting responses never works. Respond to customers personally.
You can’t afford to ignore negative sentiment.
Zero-in on the brand’s challenges, and then offer a solution.