7 Steps to Recover from Negative Social Media Reviews
Travelling back after spending the holidays away from home can tend to leave you feeling slightly melancholy: the fun’s over and it’s back to work!
However, when it’s the beginning of a New Year, there’s always that motivational voice at the back of your head telling you to get home and sort your life out – join the gym, get the washing done, fill in your tax return, finally watch the LOTR box-set…but the main reason I look forward to coming back to my little nest is just to have some time to recover.
I’m quite lucky that I live right next door to one of my best friends which is priceless as a single lady living alone – she’s always there when I’ve forgotten to cook tea, ran out of red wine or have a Facebook wall-post emergency – and all it takes is a knock on the wall (we haven’t quite mastered ‘Oh no he didn’t!’ in Morse code yet, but we manage an ‘S.O.S’ to good effect). Not just a good friend, she’s my go-to recovery strategy.
A lot of clients, when looking into their marketing strategy, will choose to avoid social media platforms altogether for fear of negative comments or reviews – after all how do you begin to recover from the potential damage that such public negativity can cause? Well, although it may seem intimidating, even the very best businesses aren’t safe from negativity; all you really need is a go-to recovery strategy.
But, seeing as my neighbour is already taken, I’ve put together some points that should help you tame even the most venomous customer.
Your Social S.O.S
#1 Accentuate the positive.
First things first, make sure you fill your platforms with the positive feedback you have received about your business. If you have favourite customers or loyal fans they should be more than willing to take some time to review your business or products should you reach out to them. Good customer reviews are great for sharing, including in articles and press releases or even print marketing so getting this kind of feedback is always golden.
#2 Don’t put your head in the sand.
There are only a handful of cases where ‘ignoring’ is the answer (which I’ll get to later) but 99% of the time you shouldn’t let negative comments or feedback go unresolved. It reflects badly on your business, as other customers will just assume you are burying your head in the sand or, even worse that you don’t concern yourselves with customer support. Being unresponsive could just result in an angry customer biting back harder or going to another platform to slate you.
#3 Think like the customer.
They always say you shouldn’t judge anyone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes – because by that time, they’re a mile away and you’ve got their shoes! Wahey!
Ahem, but seriously, you have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes before you get on your high-horse. Of course you know your business inside out, but remember that the end-user may not. Thinking like the customer is the best way to understand why they’re so wound up, angry or upset and even if the issue has come about through no fault of your own it is always best to respond in a manner that is empathetic, understanding and with a willing to resolve any issues instead of starting the blame game. This kind of attitude and good service could well get you a fan for life.
#4 Don’t Bite!
Although we all love to see a good online spat like the epic public meltdown seen here by Amy’s Baking Company, you have to be the bigger person when it comes to your business. Again, whether you feel the blame lies at your end or not, always open with an apology and what action you plan to take – even if it’s just taking their details so that you can investigate their issue further. Try not to get too defensive either; you may run two businesses and have five children and didn’t quite get time to get to the post office that day but the customer doesn’t need excuses because unfortunately for you, they really don’t care.
#5 Reach Out.
The customer will always really appreciate being contacted personally as well as publicly. It shows that you not only want to resolve the issue but that you care about the customer and their concerns and strive to improve your service. This is also the right time to offer the customer any discount or special offer by way of apology – a public peace offering could lead to people creating trouble in order to get in on freebies!
#6 Study the Feedback.
This is a bit of a grey area and will require a bit of good judgement on your part. If we’re talking about constructive criticism and you respond in the correct manner, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t leave the feedback where it is on your public platform. Having 100% glowing reviews always looks a little bit false and customers may assume you’re deleting bad feedback even if you’re not! When it comes to platforms like Twitter where you can’t delete other people’s mentions that include you, then there are a few cases where you should consider contacting the customer privately and asking them to delete the post. I would ONLY ever do this if the issue was resolved and the customer was now reassured, if it was a misunderstanding or if the customer made particularly damaging or false remarks.
#7 Bye bye!
No matter how polite you are there’s always going to be those people…yes, they just have a vendetta and are going to let everyone know in a series of vile, nasty and sometimes personal attacks. Even if they have had a particularly bad experience, there’s no excuse for someone to be rude or drop f-bombs all over your site for everyone to witness. No employees should have to put up with any kind of verbal abuse, whether it be online or not, so in this case, delete and block! I’m giving you permission.