It happens. We all have a bad day. Machines aren’t perfect. Production lines aren’t perfect. And most definitely, humans aren’t perfect. All brands and businesses go through one of those days every once in a while. No matter how careful businesses are, a bad batch or a pissed off customer care executive occasionally ruins it for them. On social media, the backlash to this mess-up can get very brutal.
So how do you treat the negative comments and reviews left on your Facebook page? Should you address them? Should you ignore them? Should you hide or delete them?
IGNORE AT YOUR OWN PERIL
Ignored comments can cause your customers to think you have taken them for granted. Plus, once they realize that the official platform is not recognizing their grievances, they will go some place else to sir it. This ‘some place else’ can be their own personal profile, another platform, another page, or worse … a competitor’s page.
Very few comments need to be ignored. Such as the ones where taking a pro or against stand can harm your brand reputation. Take for instance, the example below:
While addressing this comment was near impossible from the point of view of practicality or relevance, hiding or deleting this comment would have give the impression that the brand was taking an anti- stand in relation to the comment. Such comments are best left alone, unaddressed and unattended.
CROUCHING CRITICISM HIDDEN COMMENTS
Hiding comments is an option Facebook gives you, but using it judiciously is best left to you. For starters, never hide criticism. Other fans and followers can, and will, notice. Social media, by and large, is the strongest form of word-of-mouth that exists in today’s world. And becoming opaque in your handling of criticism can have a damaging effect on your business’s reputation.
Handle criticism like a sporting brand. Take it on the chin, and make sure you show you want to make amends. With time and experience, you will realize which criticisms are constructive and which are a pure vent of frustration. Addressing the latter is subjective and will be a moment-based decision that takes into account a lot of factors – type of user account, type of criticism, nature of complaint, language used to address the issue, etc.
Addressing constructive criticism is of critical importance. Always begin with an apology and an acknowledgement of the customer’s concern, followed by the reassurance that you value the customer.
In the above example, the brand addressed the customer complaint right away with facts and details. The number of likes received by the brand’s comment shows how long the redressal of a complaint goes in securing the brand’s loyal following.
In the above case, the brand took a slightly different approach in addressing the negative comment by making an attempt to reach out personally to the complainant. This ensures the brand has complete details and understanding of the customer’s purchase and complaint.
TAKING VITRIOL DOWN
Abuse and rant have no place on social media, and even more so on an official business page. This gives you the right to hide or delete comments you deem unhealthy to be on your page.
Negative reviews are a slightly more dicey situation, considering that you cannot delete or hide them. This is why handling them in a measured way becomes even more important
First of all, sort the real and fake reviews. Some reviewers will write a constructively negative review, judiciously pointing out the pros and cons and their complaints with your product or service. Address these with equal judiciousness. Handing out complimentary credits for them to have to return to your business or repurchase your product is a great idea. But make sure, its well followed up.
Additionally, you can simply apologize for the situation citing a bad day and request the customer to make another purchase or return one more time to your business for an improved experience.
Some one star reviews you get may not be genuine, in the sense that they may not be your customers. Ask them to verify their purchase. Alternatively, if the abuse and vitriol is plainly evident, you can report the review to Facebook. As per Facebook’s guidelines, if Facebook deems the review fake, abusive, spam or disrespectful, Facebook will remove the review/s.
A really kickass way to deal with such negative reviews also is to reach out to your current and past customers and request them to write about their experiences in the review section of your page. This creates a tilt in the favor of positive reviews and automatically drown the fake rants.
Fake reviews can be highly damaging to small and medium scale businesses who depend chiefly on Facebook for their branding and marketing. While Facebook’s algorithm makes it incredibly hard for fake and abusive damaging stuff to get through, it isn’t perfect either. In such a case, a business may consider disabling reviews altogther. The disable reviews (Turn reviews off) setting can be found in the Settings >> Edit Page tab of your Facebook business page.
Social Media is a transparent medium. Your brand’s connect with your fans depends largely on the trust emanating from this transparency. Hence, it becomes extremely important that the consumer’s views, complaints, negative feedback and reviews, etc. are handled with utmost care.