How an organization reacts to negative comments on the social media tells volumes on how the organization is going to fare in the near future, at least on its marketing front. What hours of expensive TV advertisements can achieve can be lost by just a few ignorant missteps on the social media. This is very important as the all empowering social media now a days to a great extent decides on the buying habits of prospective customers. When was the last time you bought a mobile phone, or a LCD TV or a Tablet PC without consulting on some social media site or the other, on what users think of that product. How many times we change our mind, just by reading few negative comments on the web. We easily discard loads of appreciations from loyal customers, as a marketing gimmick, but even a single negative comment on a message board is enough to sow the seeds of suspicion in our minds. Then in such a situation, is it prudent for any organization to ignore negative comments on the social media.
The adjoining image from a popular online retail store’s blog shows a comment from a disgruntled customer. Although over ten days have passed since the comment was posted, the organization has not cared to respond back. May be, they have done so, privately. But the damage is already done. By ignoring the comment, the organization is passively responding back by saying “we don’t care what you think!”.
At-least they did not delete the negative post. We should be thankful on that. But lot of organizations do just that. “If its not there, then it did not happen!” But what if the harried customer goes out and starts posting on some other blog or social media site, that is not controlled by the organization. Even worse, what if he goes and opens site in protest.
Instead of trying to remove, ignore or respond with hollow apologies, organizations have to accept that negative criticism is unavoidable. Social Media is like a double edged sword, if used wisely it will bring rewards of loyal satisfied customers, but if misused, it will bleed the hand that wields it.
Organizations have to embrace negative comments with open arms.
A possible list of Action Items to deal with Negative Criticism:
- Follow the Do Not Delete approach. Never delete a comment, unless its obscene, profane or illegal.
- Always Respond, and respond swiftly.
- Empathize with the customer, apologize without admitting any wrongdoing, as nothing can be ascertained without thorough analysis of the issue. But assure that the issue will be taken up on highest priority.
- Take up the issue privately with the customer.
These simple steps will ensure that organization’s image is safeguarded and it projects a caring customer focused organization.