A guest post by Joseph Peake.
The benefits of positive online engagement and comments are well known. Comments which represent your company in a favourable light will attract new customers and clients. This helps your business to thrive. They are a powerful and valuable form of word-of-mouth marketing for any business which wants to maintain customers and grow.
However, negative online comments about your business can have a detrimental impact. It can lead to customers turning their backs on you – allowing your competitors to get ahead.
Criticism is to be expected in business, and it's important to develop a thick skin. However, comments left online can have a lasting effect. This post outlines how you should handle negative comments about your business so they have as little impact as possible.
Don’t ignore them
It might be tempting to ignore negative comments hoping that they will disappear. But this is the worst thing you could do.
Simply pretending the negative comments don’t exist could make your disgruntled customer even more frustrated. As a result they could post even more negativity in order to get their voice heard. These comments could also put off potential customers as it gives the impression you do not care.
To maintain your business reputation, it is important to reply to every comment you receive, whether it is positive, negative, or somewhere in between.
When comments are positive, and you respond, it shows you appreciate your customers, encouraging them to buy from you or use your service again. But to handle negative comments, whether there is truth in them or not, does require an answer. Responding to these comments strategically is the best way to handle the situation without angering the commenter.
Be polite and apologise
Remembering to stay calm in the face of negativity is the first step toward handling negative comments and interacting with your consumers.
Also remember to apologise for how the commenter feels, regardless of whether you agree with them. This is crucial if you want to save your business reputation. Responding politely to negativity means your existing customers will be less likely to change their opinion of you.
Move away from social media
Comments on social media are visible for your current customers and potential customers to see. While getting into an in-depth conversation in the comments section might be tempting, it may be necessary to move the conversation away from social media to solve the issue.
Ask them to send further information via an email or direct message, so your dedicated customer support team can focus on looking into their concerns. This shows you want to understand their predicament, and that you care and are serious about resolving what their problems may be.
Who left the comment?
Whenever your business receives a negative comment online, you should first establish who left the comment. Was it a genuine customer? Was it an anonymous online troll? Figuring out who left the comment will help you to respond in the best possible way.
While this article mostly details how to handle negative comments from customers, increasingly businesses are finding negativity can be closer to home. Their employees are turning to social media to complain about the company they work for, which can easily destroy its reputation.
Did it come from within?
When an employee has posted a negative comment about your business in the heat of the moment, you need to take steps to deal with this, which will involve enlisting your HR department.
If you choose to outsource your company’s HR through a company like https://www.hrdept.co.uk/south-london/croydon, they will be able to notify the employee in question that you are aware of the post and take the steps needed to take action and get it removed from social media.
If your company has a social media policy that prohibits posting negative comments online, your employee will be in breach of their contract, so it is best to let HR experts handle this.
How does your business handle negative comments?
Criticism is one thing that is certain in business. While negative comments can be disheartening and potentially damaging to your business, how you deal with them has the biggest impact on your reputation.
Following the advice in this article will show your customers you take all comments seriously. This will demonstrate you care about the customer experience and are keen to rectify any issues.
The best way to handle negative comments about your company is to not ignore the problem and let it fester, but to approach it head-on to find the best resolution.
Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.