by Scott M. Lewis
Protecting Yourself And Your Company On Social Media - Part Two Of Three
Removing inappropriate or negative posts in social media can be difficult, but there is a way to manage such posts. When social media became popular, these platforms quickly proved themselves when communicating with customers and other individuals. In today’s world, maintaining constant communication is essential with people who are interested in your products and services, or just interested in your business. At the same time, social media has become a favorite cudgel for people who think you’ve failed to bend to their every whim, or if you have made a simple mistake and people have decided they want you to pay exponentially for whatever happened to them.
Being consistent in handling complaints is important for your company’s success, and you need to handle complaints the same way – whether online or face-to-face. According to Khj Branding Activation, here are some rules for managing negative posts on social media.
n Respond in a timely manner. In today’s electronic world, customers expect to receive a response from you the same day. Your response time indicates that you are taking a complaint seriously and are eager to find a resolution.
n People want to know they have been heard. Most of the time, when someone gives you a negative review, it’s because he or she has encountered a problem with your product or service. The customer may be angry or very frustrated, but most of the time, they have tried other avenues to get your attention and don’t know what else to do.
n People want you to own the issue, and they want you to acknowledge that your product or service has failed to meet their expectations. Apologize and show them that you value them as customers. Take action and move on. Avoid dwelling on the problem or issue any longer than needed.
n Customers want a solution. In this instance, you’re goals are to try and meet their expectations, explain the options, discuss how you are trying to improve as an organization, and articulate the steps you’ll take to keep the problem from affecting other clients.
n Rarely (if ever) delete a post -- which can be interpreted as hiding, ignoring, or failing to value a customer’s feedback. Treat social posts the same as you would if the customer was standing in front of you. Respond to the post and provide corrective information, but don’t get into an online argument. Doing so communicates to other customers what their relationship will be like if they do business with you. One exception to the rule: Seriously consider blocking an online profile due to profanity, spamming, or blatant negative attacks.
When developing a social-media management strategy regarding positive and negative feedback, it’s about managing the analytics of who is looking at your online profiles. According to a Salesforce survey, the average consumer uses ten different online channels when looking for or communicating with businesses. Your online profiles are the Yellow Pages of today, and it is essential to understand how companies and competitors are offering products and services through social media.
Using social media analytics can help you streamline your message and focus your efforts on meaningful customer support and service activities. Through social media, you are giving yourself the opportunity to respond quickly to customer questions and feedback about your products and services. According to Salesforce, 72% of customer service teams currently provide customer service on social media. Approximately 13% plan to use social media for customer service in the next 18 months, and 55% already use messenger apps like Facebook Messenger. These statistics are an indication that businesses need to pay attention to how they will leverage social media in the future. The days of the traditional Contact page on your website are going away quickly.
Implementing best practices is the first step to putting together a successful online strategy and developing policies to manage that strategy. Keep in mind that your social media platforms serve as your public relations and branding departments. The cautionary thought here is that social media is very public, moves very fast, and quickly escalates a situation making issues seem much more significant than they are, especially when feedback is negative.
Ideally, you will have a team of people working together in your company to manage social media and approve posts. These same individuals should also review comments and manage responses. Don’t panic if you receive negative feedback! Responding quickly is essential but doesn’t have to be instantaneous. Your team should take a reasonable amount of time to discuss the best possible responses and determine if a particular response should be addressed online or privately.
In today’s world, documentation is king. Make sure that you are taking screenshots of all questionable social media communication, especially if the comments are accusatory or derogatory. If the case goes to litigation, your written correspondence could be the difference between winning and losing in court.
Keeping legal matters front and center also means metering your online reaction to inflammatory posts. Although you don’t want to delete a post if doing so can be avoided, NOT responding may be the best course of action from a legal perspective. Your responses can be used against you in court, so if you’re going to respond, make sure to demonstrate the proper sympathy and empathy regarding the customer’s concern, and offer a proposal to rectify the situation.
Scott Lewis is the President and CEO of Winning Technologies Group of Companies, which includes Liberty One Software. Scott has more than 36 years of experience in the technology industry and is a nationally recognized speaker and author on technology subjects. Scott has worked with hundreds of large and small businesses to empower them to use technology to improve work processes, increase productivity, and reduce costs. Scott has designed thousands of systems for large, medium, and small companies, and Winning Technologies’ goal is to work with companies on the selection, implementation, management, and support of technology resources. Learn more about Winning Technologies at www.winningtech.com or call 877-379-8279. To learn more about Business Manager 365, visit www.businessmanager365.com.