If you engage with consumers on a regular basis you will encounter unhappy customers. It’s one of the realities of the public marketplace, and you must have a strategy for rectifying situations where someone you serve is not entirely happy.
But doesn’t creating a public space in Facebook open you and your business up to the possibility that your problems will be exposed to a wide audience? Won’t this exposure damage your reputation and entirely negate the benefits of having a Facebook business page? Not if you handle negative comments and reviews in a swift, appropriate, and thorough manner.
Before making some suggestions about responding to legitimate concerns from an unhappy customer, let me assure you that you DO have complete control over the content that others post to your page. Any and every negative review or comment can be removed by you if you choose to do so. And in the extremely rare occasion where an unscrupulous competitor or obnoxious thrill seeker repetitively tries to sabotage you publicly, you can take aggressive action to remove their access to your page (for example, by blocking the computers IP address from which they are posting).
Most negative comments are not designed to take you down, however. The customer simply wants to vent and to be assured that you take their concerns to heart and will work to make them happy. Experts agree that, in most cases, it’s best to leave the negative feedback on your page…as long as your response is positive and customer oriented. With this in mind, here is how you should handle negative comments or reviews:
- Acknowledge that you have seen their comment. By acknowledging, it can be just a simple, “I have received your feedback and understand your concern; we are looking into the matter right now.” If the unhappy customer sees that you have recognized their displeasure, you are at least 50% of the way toward a resolution.
But this acknowledgement must be immediate. When dealing with negative comments, over two thirds of your consumers expect a reply on the same day, and 42 percent of your consumers expect you to reply within 60 minutes. If you let a bad review or comment sit for days without a response, it tells the unhappy customer (and other readers) that you don’t care.
- Apologize with sincerity, even if you don’t entirely agree with the reason for their displeasure. Somehow there has been a disconnect between their expectations and your service. Let your dissatisfied customer know, in a public reply, you are sorry this disconnect has occurred and that you intend to make it right.
- Finally, unless it’s a simple misunderstanding that can be rectified quickly in full view of the public, take it offline. Provide a telephone number or an email address where the unhappy customer can more fully express their concern, and where you can give them a fair hearing. Be ready to listen without angry defensiveness, and seek to make them as happy as you can, within reason. If you both are pleased with the outcome, you might even suggest they make another comment on your Facebook page where they thank you for a quick and satisfactory resolution.
The above strategy will go a long way in winning people to your brand. Every consumer knows that it’s impossible to please 100% of your customers 100% of the time. But, while you may agree that this method makes good sense, you may be concerned that you have neither the time nor the resources to manage your Facebook page with the necessary vigilance. If this is true for you, you can turn to the experts at DISRUPT Media. Our exclusive four part FUNERAL Social Design Process includes constant real-time administration of your page. We monitor all activity, and we respond quickly, usually in 20 minutes or less. You can be assured that your brand reputation is maintained through our active management of your Facebook presence. Go to http://funeralsocial.com to find out more about the services we offer.
Mark Thogmartin, VP of Business Development at DISRUPT Media
Dr. Mark Thogmartin is a life-long educator, working with students from Kindergarten through the doctoral level. He has degrees from the University of Kentucky, the Ohio State University, and Andrews University. Mark’s book, Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books, has gained wide acceptance among reading tutors and parents who are teaching their children at home. In addition to assisting his son, Ryan, at DISRUPT Media as Vice President of Business Development, he works part-time as a mentor of doctoral students at Capella University. Mark and his wife Donna live in Millersport and are the parents of three adult sons and the grandparents of two beautiful granddaughters.