In spite of all the five-star ratings on your company’s Facebook page, sooner or later it’s bound to happen—a customer of yours will have what they perceive to be a bad experience and not hesitate to let the world—literally—know all about it by posting a negative review on Facebook. While a prompt response on your part is needed, your first inclination might be to respond angrily by telling the person all the ways they contributed to their less-than-satisfactory experience. That would not be your wisest course of action.
In a bricks-and-mortar environment, if a dissatisfied customer entered your business and registered a complaint, you would react immediately. The same holds true in the online world. You need to respond promptly—not only to handle the individual customer, but because your response to the complaint will be read by potentially thousands of other people on Facebook. An appropriate and timely response is critical to avoiding a social media disaster. With just the right messaging, you can take advantage of the opportunity and possibly convert the complainer into an advocate for your business.
What Is the Right Messaging
Start by posting a brief, neutral acknowledgement in reply to the complainer’s post. (Keep the posts in the same string, so others who read them can easily follow the steps as they occur.) You can let the person know you have received their feedback and that you are looking into the matter.
Because your business matters, you wouldn’t hide behind Facebook to run it, and the complainer shouldn’t hide behind Facebook to report their concern. Provide the person with a phone number and/or email address for them to take their matter offline and directly to you.
Next, offer a sincere apology for the poor service/broken item/late appointment—whatever the complaint was about. Direct the apology to the specifics of the actual complaint, so it’s clear you are working to address that one issue. If you speak on general terms, other readers might perceive there are much larger issues going on with your business than the one at hand which, in reality, could be quite minor and take very little to remedy.
By taking each of the above steps, you show everyone within your social media realm that you take your business seriously and you are available to promptly respond to negative feedback and complaints, which only adds to your credibility and trustworthiness. And, by showing a responsive human side to your business, you may even connect with more consumers and increase your brand loyalty. Most people will be satisfied knowing you care and are available to take prompt action. Good customer service is a must, especially in the world of digital marketing, if you are to retain a positive image.