In the infamous words of Taylor Swift: Haters gonna hate, hate, hate. And what easier way is there to publicly share a bad experience than social media? Dealing with negativity on social media can be very difficult and frustrating, but can be one of your most valuable opportunities. The way a company responds to unhappy customers will determine what they say about it afterward. Here are a few tips to keep the haters at bay and turn critics into a valuable resource.
1. Admit to your mistakes – and get over it
Whether it’s a giant fail or something as small as a spelling error – always admit to your mistakes. For example, clothing brand Allen Solly made a whoopsy when it created a giant in-store banner. Unfortunately for them, misspelling this particular word created a bit of an awkward sentence.
— BG Mahesh (@bgmahesh) 14. septembra 2014
Typos are a no go for brands, as it might make them seem careless or slacking. You can avoid that by having multiple levels of content approval process. A social tool (such as Kontentino) can help you with that.
However, Allen Solly’s social media team handled this situation the right way, and received bonus points for handling this with a sense of humour:
— Allen Solly (@allensolly) 16. septembra 2014
Results: over 5000 impressions on Twitter, 58 retweets and 25 likes. For an everyday customer response, on a negative comment!
Depending on the gravity of the situation, reply appropriately. In a more serious matter, humor is not always the way to go. However, Allen Solly found the right tone of voice in this Tweet and turned the customer’s response around to something positive.
2. Don’t feed the trolls and love the hate
Trolls and constant hate can either ruin your day, or you can make the best of it. h3h3 productions is a Youtuber who deals with hate and trolls every day, as do a lot of public figures on social media. But instead of letting it get to him, he shows the best and only way to handle it.
For an example; Ethan Klein has heard comments about his appearances over a million times. Rather than getting offended, he runs with it and makes it even bigger. The number of GIFS of Ethan shaking all he has got have taken over the internet and gained him an incredible amount of support and fans. On top of that, he created a playlist with several videos where he and Hila show their response to the meanest comments. This shows they know damn well what is being said – and it won’t hurt them.
Laughter is the best medicine, and so is handling those who seem to have endless hate. A factual answer or extensive customer care never works for trolls – because they are not looking for answers. The category trolls & constant haters will keep coming at you with the same accusations or make fun of who or what you are. Size up the matter of the accusation and if these comments have facts to cover it or not. Other customers are clever enough to see if someone is out to do harm for no reason. In this case, it is important you let the community solve the problem by itself.
Another great example is comedian Jon Stewart, who wasn’t a big fan of food chain Arby’s. He had a way of showing it on The Daily Show, a talk show with a quite sizeable audience. For years, Arby’s was the center of bad puns and constant hate on the talk show.
Arby’s never got offended and took it like a champ. On the day Jon Stewart announced he would quit the show, Arby’s decided they would turn over all the years of hate into something to their advantage. How do you make your biggest critic the star of your social media campaign? Like this:
Jon, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Arby’s (@Arbys) 11. februára 2015
Not only did Arby’s offer Jon Stewart a job, soon followed two Youtube commercials, edited in a way that made it seem Stewart actually advertised for Arby’s himself. Last but not least, they named a sandwich after the hater who had tried to crush their image since day one.
The unusual ‘cooperation’ was the recipe for a successful influencer social media campaign. Arby’s set the perfect example on how to deal with the ones who hate the most.
— Arby’s (@Arbys) 6. augusta 2015
3. Reply & act fast
Nowadays, customers expect a quick reply through social media. Just like them, you are online most of the time. Recent studies even show that 33% of customers would sooner recommend a brand who offers a quick response.
If you don’t have your answer ready right away – don’t put your panties in a twist. Simply reply that you are looking into the matter and resolve the issue from there.
4. Never delete comments
Recognize that moment when you are freaking out about a hate Tweet you just read? And it would all just be so much easier if you would delete or block it so nobody can ever see it? Newsflash: it’s worse.
Firstly, a comment posted anywhere on social media can still be found in a web cache or screenshot. Secondly, this means anyone can see you have deleted a critical question, which infuses a lot more hate than the initial problem used to be. And last but not least: you haven’t solved the problem.
Although you should never delete a comment, there are exceptions. Someone instigating racism, sexism or excessive language can we be warned this is not a part of your policy to handle each other. Make sure in those cases you have a social policy that is clearly stated before you delete anything.
5. Take it offline
More than often, the hate you receive has to go with personal matters or might require a bit more attention. Prevent a sensitive matter from escalating by taking it to a private conversation. Ask for the customer’s information in a private message and let them know you will contact them by phone or e-mail within a certain time. This way, questions can be answered directly without having an audience.
6. Kiss and make-up
In a bad situation, it is best to acknowledge you have heard your customer. Usually, a customer shows hate on social media because they didn’t get the information they needed. Go the extra mile to help solve their problem and don’t be afraid to be transparent. It will regain the trust they feel was lost.
7. Close the case
After helping a worried customer, make sure to follow up on the issue. This does not only let them know that you value their opinion and take the time to check up on them, but it also shows other potential customers you know how to handle customers concerns.
Waterstones set a great example of this when it showed on Twitter that a rather silly issue had been resolved:
Hi @Waterstones I’ve been locked inside of your Trafalgar Square bookstore for 2 hours now. Please let me out.
— David Willis (@DWill_) 16. októbra 2014
We’re pleased to announce that @DWill_ is a free man once more. Thanks for your concern and tweets!
— Waterstones (@Waterstones) 16. októbra 2014
Remember, receiving hate from a customer simply means they are involved and show they care enough to respond. Showing that you are able to handle any type of situation, will affect how customers see you. According to a study, 71% of customers who experience positive customer care on social media are actually most likely to recommend the brand to others. Love the hate!
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