Nothing is perfect. That’s a fact. Nowhere is this reflected more than in the social media space. People use social media outlets to bitch and moan about in life in general, and increasingly about the brands and businesses that are a part of their lives. People like to vent! When you are on the end of a social media slap-down, how do you re-act? Read on for my thoughts on negativity response (with a focus on Twitter).
The small complaint…
‘Hey @genericburgerstore I was in one of your joints last night and the burger was great, but the fries were a little soggy’
Is your reaction to this ‘oh my freakin’ god, someone just publicly said they hated our fries’? If so, you need to cool your jets and take a step back. They praised your burger. Awesome. Their tone is pretty friendly, they aren’t being aggressive and they are using language their Mother would be proud of. How to react?
‘Hey @jimmycustomer Very sorry to hear that. We appreciate the feedback. What joint was it & we will pass it on to the manager’
Chances are that this would result in a happy customer. You are recognising their issue and offering to address it for them. You are taking the feedback seriously without having to go to massive lengths and importantly, you are showing the public that you are engaged with your customers. Social media is a great disarmament tool, remember that. Oh and be sure to actually pass the feedback on!
‘Yo, @genericburgerjoint your server was really rude to me last night, not happy!’
Ok, so now things are getting a little hairy. In hospitality, your staff need to be nice at all times, one bad personnel experience can put a customer off for life. This is your opportunity to show the customer that your business can be friendly and helpful. Suggested response:
‘@jimmycustomer truly sorry to hear that, this is not the experience we want for our customers, please DM us & we will investigate’
Unlike the soggy fries issue, this one may require in-depth info from the customer. You want to take this out of the public eye and gather details before investigating with a view to feeding back to the customer. Remember you will need a mutual follow in order to DM. Once you have made direct message contact, ask the customer to email you with further details. This makes it easier for the customer as they are not having to communicate within the confines of 140 characters. Once you have investigated/come to a resolution, publicly acknowledge this with a tweet along the lines of ‘@jimmycustomer we are happy we managed to help with your issue and look forward to your future custom’.
‘I ate at Generic Burger Joint last night and I’ve been throwing up all day!’
Notice that this was not directly to you, it mentions your brand name and is clearly a nasty thing to be out there. Actually noticing this would depend on you having listening practices in place and if you don’t, you better start! Many Twitter users will mention you without using @yourusername. Tread carefully here, address the customer and aim to take away from the public eye as quickly as possible. Don’t tweet them with anything that could be seen as you admitting that it was your burger that made them ill.
‘Hi @jimmycustomer, can you please DM us so we can get more details from you’
Once private, you should follow the same process as the medium complaint from above. Most businesses have processes for dealing with potentially damaging issues such as this, follow that until a resolution is in place. In this specific case, it may transpire that the illness was completely unrelated to the burger. If this is the case and the customer is happy that you were at no fault, ask them if they would be able to a) delete the original tweet and b) send a tweet stating that they were wrong and the burger was not at fault. If your burger did make them pray to the porcelain God, you better get things sorted and hope the customer keeps the public outcry to a minimum.
Never go on the instant defensive!
Nobody likes people saying nasty things about them, the urge is often to try and deny any wrong-doing or flip the issue back on the customer. Don’t go there, what started as a small issue could easily spiral into a public mud fight, and nobody wants that. Stay calm!
The above is a loose guide, each business is very different and a lot will come down to how you manage issues away from the public eye.
Over to you…
How do you react to negativity? Have you complained to a brand via social media, where you happy with the response?