Dealing With Negative Comments on Facebook
At some point it's likely that the majority of businesses using social media are going to experience some kind of negativity or negative comments on their Facebook page from their fans.
The thing to remember when this does happen is that you aren't just dealing with the individual who wrote the negative comment you are in effect dealing with everybody who can potentially see that comment. That's the fans of your page and in some cases their friends too.
Responding To Different Types of Negative Comments
There will be times when a negative comment is actually constructive and your company can learn from it and in this event you should take heed of the comment, politely reply to it and look to resolve it as quickly as possible all in a transparent and open way on your Facebook page. Your fans are watching to see how you deal with this situation and if dealt with in the correct way your fans will love you even more than they already do.
There may even be situations where you can get the person who left the comment involved with what you are doing, especially if it's a technical issue, as perhaps that person has a better solution for the situation than you do?
However, occasionally a comment may be posted that is rude, abusive or even just spammy, maybe somebody just wants to pick a fight or vent their frustration and you unfortunately receive their wrath. In this instance you should delete the comment as quickly as possible and where necessary ban that person. Negative comments left on your thread affect sales, so remove them immediately and head to ‘Private Messages’, email s or the phone if necessary but do not begin to converse or engage with them in any way in public as this will do more harm than good.
As more and more businesses use Facebook and social media in general as their customer service response platform, it's worth noting that if you are unable to address a customer service complaint immediately, rather than just ignoring it, try posting updates at regular intervals stating that you are working on the issue and what progress you are making. This will appease your audience far more than going dark for several hours whilst trying to solve the problem. Your customers will appreciate being kept up-to-date rather than feeling like they are being ignored. Of course every complaint is different so look carefully at each individual one and decide the best way to deal with it.
Unhappy customers will spread the word that they aren't happy with your company but, if you put in place a strategy to win them back, you'll find that they will talk to far more people as a happy customer than they did as an unhappy one.
Having said all of the above, if you aren't listening to what's being said about your business then you'll never know when they are unhappy. Meaning you can't reply or resolve their issues. Make sure you are monitoring your Facebook page and Twitter streams regularly and set up things like 'Google Alerts' for your brand and industry keywords to help you stay on top of what is being said.
If you have multiple people working your social media platforms make sure they all reply in the same authentic, sincere and human voice of your brand. This is especially important if you are receiving multiple complaints (which hopefully you aren't). The last thing you want to happen is that different people answer the same issue with different answers. Having pre-written and pre-approved responses to use in this situation will help avoid this type of problem.
Whilst replying in a timely manner, offering a sincere apology with a legitimate solution will go a long way to appease most people. Understanding if a comment is worth responding to or just deleting immediate should also be taken into account. As mentioned earlier some abusive or rude comments are just not worth responding to and should be deleted straight away as getting into a live online battle will do your brand more harm than good.
Finally, as the commercial world get's ever faster, another area worth taking into consideration is the time it takes your company to respond to online issues. Simply monitoring your Facebook Page or Twitter stream regularly will help you pick up on issues as they arise allowing you to deal with them quicker and hopefully helping to avoid them escalating into something more than what they started out as. Facebook pages now publicly post what the average response time is of a page and according to Hubspot "72% of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour!"
We live in a fast world and gone are the days when the public wait for their complaint to be dealt with days later, they unfortunately expect brands to more or less deal with their complaints in real time. Monitoring your Facebook page and Twitter stream is vital to keep you ahead of the game.