Imagine you are a restaurant owner. Last night didn’t go great. One of the stoves wasn’t working. Two people called out sick. You ran out of chicken. It was the worst night you have had since you opened. You know it. Unfortunately, so do your customers.
You wake up the next morning to see some new social media notifications. A quick look makes it obvious they are from a customer or customers who are upset about their meals last night. Not good. They have given you one star reviews bringing your almost perfect five star rating down to a 2.9!
A part of you panics. As most business owners know, social media is a blessing and a curse. Right now, it is a curse. Your immediate response is to get defensive and stand up for your employees. You want to announce that everything went wrong and it was a perfect storm. You are taking the feedback personally.
Thankfully you take a minute to cool off before responding.
How to Handle Negative Social Media Feedback
First and foremost, it is important to recognize when things don’t go well. No one expects perfection, but they do expect that a business can own its mistakes. It seems like such a simple task, but when we feel like we failed people our instinct is often to go on the defensive. We want to protect ourselves and those close to us, but admitting things weren’t great is sure to have a more positive effect in the long run.
Offer a Remedy
In our restaurant example, the owner or management can say something as simple as “We apologize for the state of our dining room last night. We know that we most likely did not live up to your expectations due to factors both in and out of our control. We would love for you to give us a second chance. Mention this post and get a free appetizer.”
This response acknowledges the shortcomings and offers a solution that gives people a reason to try again.
Know When to Cut Your Losses
The downside to social media is that people can post without thinking about the people on the other side of the screen. This means that people will often be more harsh with their words and can venture into trolling territory pretty quickly. If you have responded to someone like this, offered your apologies, and promised a solution yet they continue to post it is time to walk away from that person. Whether that means to stop engaging or to block them from your pages. It is important to accept negative feedback and hear it. It is not necessary to allow someone to berate you or your employees.
Social media has been both a blessing and a curse to many businesses. It is a great way to interact with customers, gain visibility, and encourage relationships. On the other hand it has become a way for people to often forget words carry meaning and weight. Knowing how to respond and doing so in a thoughtful and purposeful way is sure to help your business grow and thrive.