We all love social media sites when they’re working for us. It’s fun to see positive feedback on your Facebook wall or have a client tweet a cheerful remark about your company. However, most of us have seen the other side of it as well. You know: the knot you feel in the pit of your stomach when someone has something not-so-nice to say about your business. Your first instinct might be to delete the comment and hope that no one, or at least very few, people saw it. You might even want to retaliate. But, did you know that you can make those negative comments work for you just like the positive ones? It’s all about how you handle the situation. And believe me, with sites like Facebook and Twitter running 24/7, the whole world is watching.
You probably all remember the not-so-little incident with Atlanta-based Boners BBQ that happened just last month. This small barbecue joint found itself in a whirlwind of media attention over a beef it had with a patron. If you don’t remember all of the details, then let me give you a brief rundown.
- Local Atlanta-area resident Stephanie visits Boners BBQ with her husband.
- After a mediocre experience, Stephanie leaves a negative, but well-written review on Yelp.
- After reading the Yelp review, the person who runs the Boners BBQ Facebook page begins to lash out at Stephanie with a bevy of inappropriate comments.
- Tons of backlash over the comment from people on Facebook.
- Media takes notice, the story goes viral.
- Ends with a sincere-ish looking apology, but at this point it’s a little too late.
It probably seems obvious to you that the above story is an inappropriate way to handle a customer complaint. What might not be so obvious is how to handle the situation properly and effectively. Below are a few suggestions to add to your social media strategy.
- Take a moment to breathe: Don’t freak out, panic and immediately hit the delete button or worse, retaliate. Take a moment to process the complaint to determine the best course of action.
- Don’t let too much time pass before addressing the complaint: If it’s something that will take some time for you to fix, or you don’t know the best course of action at the moment, then respond by telling your unhappy customer that you’re looking into the matter and that someone will contact them soon.
- Let the world see you handle the complaint in a positive manor/Publicly offer a solution: In the case of Boners BBQ, instead of bashing Stephanie about her review on a completely different social media site, the restaurant should have issued a public apology. Boners BBQ could then offer to treat Stephanie and her family to a meal on-the-house, giving the restaurant a second chance to show off its food. When the problem is resolved on Facebook, the result will more than likely be positive feedback on your wall.
These are just a few tips to help you get started. If you need more social media help, then contact us at Marketing RELEVANCE.