December 18, 2017 | Leave a comment Social Media is a critical part of any digital marketing strategy. Digital marketing provides an opportunity to expose your brand, with an important added benefit; allowing companies the chance to engage in conversation with loyal customers and create relationships with new ones. This engagement leads to positive customer reviews, feedback, suggestions and brand loyalty. And it works. Domino’s Pizza, for example, used social media feedback to change their dough recipe. Customers love to feel involved; who doesn’t like being listened to, or love receiving the proper care in customer service? Positive reviews and kind words are always welcome, and as marketers, we want to capitalize on customers’ satisfaction. But what about the flip side? How do we handle negative feedback posted on social media by an unhappy customer? Even more than the love of feeling ‘heard’, customers HATE feeling ignored and shuffled around while dealing with customer service. To Respond, or Not to Respond: Yes! Always respond to comments, good or bad. Of course, you can attempt to remove the negative comment to prevent others from seeing it. If not, it’s okay – you can’t please everyone.As long as you respond appropriately, other customers are not likely to hold one individual’s opinion against the brand. Even if you were successful in removing the comment from the public eye, it is still important to respond to the original post. Hell hath no fury like a disgruntled customer! Finding the Right Words – What Should You Say? This answer varies on the situation. Keep in mind that your unhappy customer is very upset if they took the time to comment. More than likely, these individuals are seeking a response with a little more depth than, “We apologize for your experience this won’t happen again.” Be sure any comment that can be seen by the public is completely appropriate and unbiased. They don’t care that you’re sorry… They are seeking a solution. How do you intend to improve their customer service experience next time? Be accountable for the problem encountered. For example, a customer is upset about her product taking “forever” to ship. Here is possible post solution: “We sincerely apologize for your grief. Sometimes products take longer to ship, depending on the location or vendor as described in your account information. We encourage you to call xxx-xxx-xxxx if you would like further details or assistance in reviewing your account information. We appreciate your business and want to make sure you feel secure regarding your purchase.” Follow Up? Not necessarily. At the end of the day, you certainly do not want to encourage this kind of negative engagement on your business pages. General rule: Respectfully respond, then don’t fan the fire. Some companies go above and beyond to make it right with an unhappy customer; refunding, coupons, free product, etc. Follow the same guidelines that your company would follow with an offline customer complaint. Do Unto Others… Whether we like it or not, social media can become a customer service channel; use the opportunity to show that you handle complaints with respect and expediency. Despite these potential bumps on the road, social media is crucial to your digital marketing strategy and engagement with your satisfied customers. For most businesses, limitless exposure to new customers will outweigh the few critics who make themselves heard.