As hard as you might try, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy and social media is the go-to destination for disgruntled users.
The tricky part is that your social profiles act as the face of your brand. So how do you keep it blemish free? You don’t – people will always complain. It’s what you do after the complaint that matters. These tips will help you keep your cool and handle negative feedback in the best way possible.
One of the first things all community managers should do upon inheriting control of their brand’s social channels is create a process for handling feedback. Never underestimate your community – the vast majority of feedback is something you should pass along right away. You just have to know who to pass it to. When urgent things come through your feed like, “Your app isn’t working…” or critiques on content like, “Your title is confusing…,” it’s crucial to pass that on to the correct person in each department. Make a point to find a contact in the departments that could be affected, ie. customer service, content, etc. This will make the whole process run a lot smoother.
Your primary goal needs to be addressing the problem that caused the complaint instead of the complaint itself.
Once the feedback comes in, it’s important to gauge what type of feedback you’re receiving. Not all negative feedback is the same. In my opinion, there are 4 distinct types of negative feedback:
It’s important to make sure you understand what kind of feedback someone is giving before you respond to it.
Lots of digital marketers will tell you to respond to everything, but all community managers know that some situations are beyond mediation. Absolutely respond to both pressing and constructive feedback. You should also make a point to respond to 90% of disgruntled feedback. Apologizing, offering up a solution, or even just offering up the opportunity to cater to this concern in the future can go a long way. However, sometimes there are people that are unreasonable and antagonistic. In this case, I’d opt out of continuing a conversation. There’s a huge difference between negative feedback and trolling.
The number one priority when it comes to handling feedback on social is having patience. As community managers, we’re usually extremely well-versed in the workings of our company and the content circulating throughout the industry. It can be easy to dismiss feedback as ill-informed or irrational (and it very well may be), but keep in mind that every interaction is an opportunity. The better you handle a situation, the more respect you stand to gain. Even if they’re complaining about something that is user-error, take a deep breath, apologize for the inconvenience or offer up a solution and then make changes (if need be) to make sure that the confusion doesn’t occur again.
If you’re as fortunate as I am, you have a huge resource on your hands – your community. Often times, your community is just as well-versed in your company and industry as you are. If you’re doing your job, you’re creating advocates that can go to bat for your brand against anybody. Whether it’s negative feedback, questions or general discussion, it’s always important to give your audience the opportunity to respond first. After all, you’re creating a community – not a personal messaging service. Don’t let too much time past, but there’s no shame in giving a situation (as long as it’s not dire) time to work itself it out.
When feedback comes in, sometimes you don’t know what it’s going to turn into. If your conversation starts to spiral, don’t be afraid to shoot them a DM or a Facebook message instead of letting it drag on in everyone’s feeds. Some things are best handled behind closed doors.
Don’t lose sleep over this stuff, people. Social media is destination #1 for negative feedback and complaints, but don’t take it too much to heart. Do the best you can to hear the feedback, apologize, offer a solution and modify going forward. Beyond that, there’s not much more you can do. Stay strong, CMs!