Someone once gave me some advice about dealing with small children (bear with me, here).
They said that when you’re in a crowded place and your toddler has a thrown-down screaming tantrum, fists pounding on the floor, it is actually GREAT! The theory is – your little brat has given you a perfect opportunity to teach your child, and to model excellence behaviour.
Needless to say, that advice is really irritating and doesn’t in the slightest bit alleviate the complete humiliation of the moment.
BUT! I am about to give you similar advice for dealing with complaints on facebook (sorry not sorry).
Your (really annoying and ungrateful) customer has made a (probably somewhat rude) complaint by posting to your facebook wall.
Why couldn’t they just talk to you in person!
OK. Breathe. Think of your critical customer as your tantruming toddler. Yes, completely infuriating and embarrassing! BUT you know what, honestly, everyone else witnessing the tirade totally understands. They know to take the whinging with a grain of salt and they understand that screaming toddlers (and complaining clients) are merely a nuisance and not particularly meaningful.
Here’s what you feel like you might like to do:
1. Ignore them – don’t add fuel to the fire.
Wrong. Remember the (annoying) parenting advice? This is actually an opportunity!! Here is your chance to represent yourself brilliantly. Don’t think of it as merely dealing with this one customer, think of it as showing ALL of your customers how your brand works.
The key here is to take the wind out of their sails. Be friendly and professional. Be the better person.
But before that, you may need to step away for a while, have a cup of tea or get some fresh air. Be calm and try not to take this personally.
When you feel OK, work on your reply.
2. Reply and discredit the complainant.
Wrong. You will come across so badly. Honestly. Is it really your brand-persona to be defensive and to fly off the handles? Of course not.
Yes I hear you, this customer was a total pain in the proverbial. Forget about them, think about the LOADS of great customers that will read your reply.
Chances are, the complainant got a bee in their bonnet about something and when all is resolved, they’ll turn into a valued customer like the others.
3. Delete the negative post.
Wrong. If the complainant knows how to post to facebook, they can work out how to post to a myriad of other review sites on which you have NO control.
Deal with your problem.
4. Ban the person from your page.
Wrong. See above.
5. Prevent this from happening by turning off the post-to-page function.
Wrong. The beauty of social media is that it’s a conversation with your audience/clients/customers.
This is a great thing for both clients and businesses. It’s an easy way for clients to give you feedback, and it opens up wonderful opportunities for you to respond to questions and criticism, and to highlight positive comments! It’s also a valuable insight into what your clients are thinking about your business.
So by turning off the ability for others to post to your page, you’re missing out on loads of potential testimonials – these are worth GOLD and they far outweigh the odd negative comment.
Same thing goes for turning off the star-reviews function. You can do this but you will also lose the map function on your page, which is very important for attracting local clientele. Again, you’re missing out on many great, 5 star reviews.
So how should you deal with your tricky customer on social media?
Firstly, you need to be hanging out on your business page regularly in order to know what conversations are going down about your business!
Most importantly you must be calm, friendly and professional. When others see your interaction with the complainant, they’ll be more impressed than ever with your brand.
Here’s what to do:
-> Acknowledge the problem
-> Offer an explanation
-> Extend an invitation for the customer to have another experience with your brand to see how great you really can be.
-> Take the conversation to private (invite the customer to email you) to offer anything above and beyond another experience (for example, a discount or freebie).
-> Trust your community to back you up – change the subject by posting something new, encouraging positive posts.
Have you got any other tips about dealing with less-then-glowing comments on facebook?