As a business owner dealing with day to day operations among 483 other things to occupy your time, I am sure the last thing you want to see is a negative comment or review pop up on your Facebook or any other platform.
For obvious reasons, that is never something you want to deal with. However, chances are that you will have to eventually.
Seeing that negative review could mean a few scenarios are playing out here.
A – You failed a customer in some way shape or form.
B – There was breach in communication between you and your customer.
C – The customer is acting unfairly.
D – You’re dealing with a troll.
I’ve dealt with all of these on social media in some way, shape or form over the years. Maybe your business has been fortunate enough to avoid it so far. If so, keep it up! It’s much easier to interact with someone promoting your business than detracting it.
- A – Failed Customer
If you fail a customer and they leave a negative review, take that time to openly right the ship. An example would be putting the wrong food in a to-go order.
Don’t try and hide it. Don’t make excuses. Take ownership of the mistake and do your best to accommodate them in reasonable ways. Thank the customer for their business and also bringing the issue to your attention. Apologize to the customer for whatever it is you may have done to upset them. Then find a solution. Show them that their business is valuable to you.
- B – Breach of Communication
Sometimes in business, transactions get misconstrued. If you run a brick and mortar, you’re likely seeing plenty of faces throughout the day and having multiple conversations. Let’s assume you run a retail shop and the customer wants to order something that is out of stock. You order it online and will have it the following week. You call them to let them know you have it in stock, but they never get the message or come to pick it up. You completely forget about it within the next day or two. It happens. You find a review on your page three weeks later from the customer saying they never got it. Yikes!
On one hand, you did what you said you would. On the other, that customer still didn’t get the product they wanted.
Much like a failed customer, take ownership. Respond by apologizing for what happened and let them know that a message was left on a specific date. Apologize again saying that we should have been more thorough and let them know you have the product they wanted. When they get to the store, throw in a discount or something cheap for free.
Make sure they ultimately know you view it as your fault and you’re doing what you can to right the ship. Maybe they turn that negative review into a positive one.
- C- Customer Acting Unfairly
Maybe you take all the necessary steps of accountability, apology and problem solving, but there is no righting the ship.
It was an A or B scenario and it turned into C. I will speak candidly here and say “the customer is always right” is one of the most overused phrases in a long list of overused phrases. I’ve dealt with customers who are wrong. Sometimes, you are forced to play the game though.
Stay cool and composed in your response on social. Even if you can’t make that customer happy, publicly responding and attempting to make it right will look better than not responding at all or responding negatively. You may lose that customer regardless, but you may gain 4 or 5 because you’re showing you care.
In all likelihood, people will be able to tell the difference between a customer acting unfairly or a business treating them unfairly.
- D – Trolling
Been there, done that. I ran the social media platforms for multiple gyms before jumping into social media marketing. The owners were opening a new gym in another city. There was long time gym a few blocks down. One of their instructors and brand advocates began commenting on one of our posts with some pretty negative rhetoric as well as some lies.
I responded with a warm welcome to them commenting on our page and respectfully addressed what was being said. I honestly don’t remember exactly what was said. I eventually offered the person a 7-day free trial for the gym and the person made some snarky comment and we stopped responding. I knew about halfway through I was dealing with a troll. That troll gave us an opportunity to show we cared.
Plus, we had our brand advocates defend us a little more directly.
The Bottom Line
Engage with your audience, even when facing negativity. It will show your current and potential customers that you do care what people are saying. It shows you care about your customers and gives them a sense of security that you do want to ensure they are taken care of in all situations.
While we don’t like dealing with negative reviews or bad things being said about our businesses, it is going to happen at some point. Address it when it happens.