As any business owner knows, negative feedback is a part of its existence. What sets one organization apart from another is how it responds to that feedback. Today, social media allows consumers to provide feedback immediately and in a very public way. Therefore, it is important for an organization to have a plan and specific individuals within the organization who can respond to this feedback in a timely and effective manner. Ultimately, an organization can turn negative feedback into a positive public impression for your company if it uses the following five tips.
- Be honest. If your organization makes a mistake or if a product doesn’t function as expected, let the customer know and make it right. Often, customers are forgiving if an organization takes responsibility for issues and addresses them promptly. Remember, there may be others in addition to the impacted customer waiting to see how your organization will deal with the issue.
- Acknowledge the feedback in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, the timeframe for which an organization has the ability to acknowledge and address an issue has been greatly shortened courtesy of the internet and social media. This fact means an organization should have designated individuals identified to monitor and respond to feedback. In general, an organization should acknowledge, and if possible address, feedback on most social media platforms within 24 hours. The one exception to this guidance is Twitter; due to the quick changing nature of the information on this platform, it is suggested your organization acknowledge feedback within a couple hours, if possible.
- Provide a clear, and if necessary researched, response. Nothing is more frustrating to an already upset customer than an organization which appears disorganized and unable to provide a direct response to a concern.
- Be empathetic and personable. The attitude with which an organization addresses negative feedback is often apparent to customers. This factor can often determine a customer’s likelihood to continue to be a customer of the organization after the issue more than direct steps taken by the organization. Therefore, it’s important for your organization to ensure the individuals it chooses to respond to feedback are naturally empathetic and are able to treat the customer as if he or she is always right, even if that isn’t the case.
- Provide an avenue for continuing or future feedback. Customers also receive a positive impression when an organization provides an open door and way to follow up on additional issues or concerns. This approach also means the organization learns about it directly via a corporate representative rather than social media.
Local search marketing experts advise organizations to take negative feedback as a positive learning and relationship building opportunity. Further, it’s important for organizations not to censor the negative feedback they receive, but to deal with it publicly if that is appropriate.
Chris Marentis, through his company Surefire Social, leverages website development, search engine optimization and social media marketing to generate leads and boost local businesses.