There are a number of businesses that are still not embracing social media. They say things like, “We’ll get to it someday,” while others are simply skeptical of the emerging technology. But, if I had to choose one core reason why some businesses are not embracing social media, I would say it’s because they’re scared. They fear potential backlash from customers.
Fear stems from one’s illusion of control. Avoiding social media doesn’t silence the crowd. In fact, it could make bad circumstances worse because the business has no voice when consumers protest.
Last week, Gini Dietrich wrote about the PR mess involving Komen charity. I’ll let you read the details for yourself. I want to emphasize that Komen violated a cardinal sin of social media: deleting negative feedback! When consumers posted messages on the Komen Facebook page saying they were upset, those comments were deleted.
The only thing worse than deleting comments would be to respond defensively and thus initiating a battle with the audience.
I highly recommend not deleting negative feedback unless it’s an extreme circumstance such as inappropriate language or lewd comments.
Because it’s already out there. Someone saw it. And when the person who wrote the message sees that it’s been deleted, they’ll post again and be even more irate. Essentially, deleting a negative Facebook post would like hanging up during a customer service call.
When done correctly, acknowledging negative feedback and responding appropriately is an opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service. How a business handles negative feedback says volumes about the integrity of the business and how much the business values its customers.
Don’t ignore the feedback, either. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away any more than deleting it.
So what do you do when someone posts a negative comment? Although it’s a natural reaction to be upset, do your best to stay calm. If you have to, walk away for a few moments so you can write your response with a clear head. Once you’ve had time to let the dust settle, re-read the message and consider its validity. Swallow your pride and be honest with yourself.
If you’ve decided the feedback has truth to it, do the following:
If you’ve decided the feedback is only partially true or it’s slightly misguided, do the following:
If you’ve decided the feedback couldn’t be farther from the truth, do the following:
In many cases, negative feedback will not be black and white. In fact, some of it will be highly subjective. The important thing to remember is to avoid getting emotionally involved in subjective opinions. Use the feedback as a way to improve customer relations and demonstrate compassion for upset customers.
Accept that negativity will happen. Nothing is perfect.
My goal is that you will read this blog and do three things:
Learn more about managing your online reputation by joining our LinkedIn Group, “Personal Brand Management.”
Have you ever received negative comments online? How did you handle it?