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When someone has a bad review, respond to the person as soon as possible.

If it hasn’t happened yet, it will – and when it happens for the very first time, you’re never truly prepared for the feeling that follows. Of course, I’m talking about bad reviews on social media. It seems as if every time we read bad reviews pertaining to our brand on our social media channels, it’s hard to not take it personally. It truly hurts, and while your first reaction may be to get defensive and retort a smart aleck answer, don’t! This is how PR nightmares begin, so follow our steps below in order to come out on top!

Respond to the bad review – now!

You’ve probably been watching The Walking Dead this season, so let’s use a line from antagonist Negan this season:

“Not making a decision is a very big decision.”

While I’m paraphrasing loosely, TWD’s most heartless villain has a point: not doing anything is a decision – and it’s absolutely true when it comes to responding to criticism on social media. Going quiet and hoping the entire thing blows over is the same as sending a disingenuous response to the customer that’s complaining. Rather, respond to the person as soon as possible – just be sure to use…

Kindness. Always.

There is never an excuse for being rude – end of story. While the person leaving the review may be the epitome of rudeness, you’re the professional! Act like one by killing them with kindness, being polite, understanding, and heartfelt at all times. The saying of, “not feeding the trolls,” certainly applies here too. Be kind, respectful, and helpful at all times, and you will disarm the troll’s artillery. Plus, it makes you appear helpful, honest, and trustworthy to your other followers.

Step outside for a few moments if you must

Unfortunately, there are going to be instances in which someone leaves such an unfair, scathing review of your brand that you physically can’t type anything nice to them (hey, it happens!). In these instances, responding immediately isn’t the best course of action. Step outside for a few moments if possible, take a quick walk, and talk to an employee, peer, or someone you trust if needed. As the old saying goes, “let cooler heads prevail;” once yours has cooled off, step back inside and craft an appropriate response.

Do your best to come to a realistic resolution

Emphasis on, ‘realistic resolution.’ Although you may want to make the customer happy any way you can, sometimes you need to remind the person to be realistic about the matter. For example, if a customer realizes you are trying to correct the situation, they may try to take advantage of you. For example, if you are providing a home security service, the customer making the complaint may try to get free six months of service from you, and in return will write an update to the review. While you can use your best judgement on this, it’s recommended that you go ‘above and beyond,’ but to an extent where it makes sense. Thus, while six months of free service could make the customer happy, consider how much it will cost you. If you’re not comfortable with it, make a better deal (e.g two months of free service). Do your best to come to a resolution, but be fair to yourself and business.

Lose the battle if you must

Never sacrifice honest, transparent customer service – even if it means losing a customer. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you, and don’t be desperate to make a complaining customer happy by whatever means necessary. Sometimes, losing a customer is better than bending over backwards to make them, ‘happy,’ which can cause you to lose money in the process. By being transparent, caring, kind, and honest, your followers are going to see this in their social media feeds, and they are going to make their own judgement on whether or not you handled the situation carefully.

And if you followed our tips above, they are going to know that you handled it just fine. This will also reinforce the notion that your brand care about them and provides quality customer service, meaning they will be much more likely to conduct business with you again than before. Do the right thing, and complaining customers won’t have a sizeable impact on your brand!

If you’re unsure of how to approach the situation after reading this blog, download our FREE eBook, “A Beginner’s Guide to Developing A Social Presence On The Internet”. It can help guide you in the right direction. Click on the future below, fill out the form and you’re on your way.

Beginner's Guide to Developing a Social Presence on the Internet

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