listen – laugh – love

A little taste of my Social Media love…

Deal With Them We Must!

on June 19, 2014

Negative comments, we all dread them. Whether it’s a negative comment on our personal profile or our company’s page, they are not fun to deal with. However, deal with them we must! As community manager and social media professional, it’s often our task to both address and put to rest these negative comments.

Let’s take a look a couple of hypothetical negative Facebook posts:

In reference to a fast food experience:

I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.

My approach to addressing this comment would be as follows:

I am so sorry to hear that your experience was less than stellar. We certainly strive for a positive, efficient and enjoyable experience each time you dine with us. Would you mind sending me a direct message with your contact information? I would love to look into this further for you and provide you with a solution. Thank you for taking the time to bring this situation to my attention.

I would prefer to take the conversation with this user offline – I would address his/her concerns publically; however, I would need to hear his account of the situation and insure that the exact store is made aware of his concerns directly. By apologizing to the user, asking for his/her contact information and thanking him/her for the information I am attempting to make a personal connection with the user and reinforcing the river of trust between company and consumer.

Is this the right way to handle this situation? Is getting the facts from the customer and reaching out to actual location right? Or would you just give the customer a coupon and call it a day?

In reference to a mainstream news network (all reporting was balanced):

Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all of your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reports of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious

My approach to addressing this comment would be as follows:

Thank you for expressing your concern, FIRST NAME. We at Mainstream News pride ourselves on providing unbiased, accurate and worthwhile information to our audience – we stand behind each and every one of our reports. We will continue to provide our viewers with accurate information as the story in the Middle East further develops. However, please note that the use of inappropriate language is strictly prohibited on our discussion forums (see our Social Media Guidelines) and may result in a loss of posting privileges. Again, thank you for expressing your concern and we look forward to providing you with unbiased and accurate content in the future.

This one is a bit different – this post is one user’s opinion and probably will not ruin the news networks reputation. This is especially true since we know that the reporting was in fact unbiased and completely balanced. However, the comment does need to be addressed to show that we are paying attention. I would want to thank the user for the comment, assure him/her that we do provide unbiased reports and then direct him/her to our social guidelines.

Do you think that using curse words on social is appropriate in this case? Is it wrong to not offer the user any type of real apology in this case?

Ta-ta for now!

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10 responses to “Deal With Them We Must!

  1. Stacy Shanks says:

    Great post. In your first response we were definitely on the same page. I wouldn’t just hand the person a coupon or reward for the negative experience and leave it at that. I like how you made the personal connection and talked to the user on their level. You also asked to speak with them outside of the message and it is then up to the customer if they want to take the complaint forward. Not all will. If they want something out of it then they need to take that extra step to give you more details.

    I can see how you didn’t offer an apology in the second response. If you don’t feel that you did something wrong then a direct apology isn’t needed. You let the user know you were listening and thanked them for their response. I think that about covers all an organization should have to do in this case.

    • Hi Stacy –

      Thanks for reading! I think taking the conversation offline in response to the first situation is key – you want to acknowledge (publicly) that you’ve heard the concern and that you are working on it. However, I don’t think you need to air the details of the conversations with the customer to the rest of the online community – the compensation or solution you offer to that customer might not be the same as what you would do in another situation. You don’t want to back yourself into a corner.

      As long as the upset news watcher doesn’t get out of hand – I think it’s perfectly fine to leave the comment and address it in the way that I did. However, if the debate continues, I would need to reevaluate the situation.

  2. Hi Lacee,
    I handled the situations very similar to you. I think the most important thing to do is to respond to disgruntled customers. To answer your question about the curse words…I think that using curse words on social media is inappropriate. I chose to delete this comment after I responded to it. I would not want my followers to be subjected to this kind of content or think we condone it since it is up on our social media page still. I think once the disgruntled user knows we have acknowledged them it is perfectly find to remove their post.
    What do you think?

    • Hi Alexis –

      Thanks for reading! Personally, I do not use curse words on my social platforms or in my daily life. However, I do understand that this is something many others to choose to use to express their thoughts and emotions. As long as the words were not being used in a threatening manner, I see no real issue leaving this particular comment. If it was full of these types of words, that would be a different story. However, I do see why you would want to remove the comment – if I was managing my personal page, this is what I would do for sure!

  3. lesleygeyer says:

    I responded very similarly to you. I think your responses are great. In the first, you apologized and offered to make amends. In the second, you addresses the concerns, defended the news outlet, and made reference to a policy to prohibiting foul language. I opted not to delete the post, but to no longer engage in the conversation after my initial response. I think if the user continued to post foul language or berate me (or the social team) post that initial response, I would ban the user.

    • Hi Lesley –

      Thanks for reading! I agree that there shouldn’t be any further discussion with the disgruntled news watcher – the situation was acknowledged and addressed, that’s all it needed. The user was incorrect in his sayings; however, he is entitled to his own opinion. I see no harm in leaving the comment on the page – if there is further conversation on the post that leads to more inappropriate language, then we should reevaluate the situation and potentially remove the entire conversation.

  4. Lexi Rich says:

    Lacee, I LOVE your response to the news post. I couldn’t think of the right words to say for my response, but yours is spot on. I also like that you back up your note about the language by showing the user your guidelines.

    As for the fast food one, I absolutely agree that it does not pay to just give someone a coupon and call it a day. From my experience (I handle these complaints every day for my client), people can tell when you’re trying to just quiet them down by giving them free stuff, and they hate it. So, listening or making an attempt to listen will help. The people who just wanted something free really quick will typically not answer your reply and send their contact information- they were probably just testing you to see what you were going to do.

    • Hi Lexi –

      Thanks for reading! I wanted to make sure that I defended the news organization and let the viewer know that we pride ourselves on offering unbiased and accurate coverage – this needs to be out there for the rest of the folks reading the comment to see as well. I think it’s important to point out that inappropriate language is not to be tolerated and that further use of such words will result in deletion of the post and could affect your ability to post in the future.

      It’s interesting that people won’t even answer your reply – clearly they are just looking for a hand out!

  5. Justin says:

    I like your responses too, particularly re Fast Food. Re Mid East, check out my conversation strand in the Week 6 Assignments post on Sakai. Comments welcome :)

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