Facebook is a great place to hang out with friends and family, develop amicable relationships for businesses and have fun, but once in a while, businesses have to deal with negative comments on Facebook business page in the form of product complaint, trolling, sarcasm, abusive language etc.
Negative comments are painful and can turn any good day into bad one; It doesn’t matter whether you get them on a personal profile or business page.
Some businesses abandon their business page when they get overwhelmed with negative comments, others delete all negative comments on their facebook page,
But, is deleting negative comments the only option?
No, for sure.
Taking snaps decisions about negative comments may not be the best strategy to deal with them. on one hand it further annoys your complainer, and on the other hand, it raises a credibility on your business before your page followers. But if you have designed a pre-thought negative comment strategy, you can effectively deal with negatives comments without deleting them instantaneously.
Advantages of Negative Comment Strategy
There are two major benefits of crafting a negative comment strategy.
1. you won’t take reactive emotional decisions about negative comments.
2. As a business you can implement it on a larger scale: You can delegate it to others and whoever deals with your Facebook business page knows beforehand how he has to deal with negative comments based on predefined criteria.
Deal with Negative comments on Facebook Business Page:
Your actual comment strategy will depend on your specific business needs, here I am offering some pointers to keep in mind while crafting your negative comment strategy for Facebook business page and other social media.
1. How to deal with Mass criticism on Facebook
Generally, when your business is criticized on a mass scale, a crisis like accidents, corruption scam etc has happened that relates to your business. Deleting all negative comments may seem as a good step in this situation, but refrain from doing it unless the comment is outright abusive.
In these situations, the top management of the organization should first acknowledge that there is some issue and they are working to resolve it.
Any kind of explanation or justification at this stage may aggravate the situation. In panic and chaotic situations that arise during a crisis, people want to release their tension, they want to be assured that everything will be alright.
Top management’s personal engagement during Mass negative criticism and their assurance works like a medicinal ointment.
But this Engagement strategy only works when you implement it fast because people expect quick responses to a crisis. If the management doesn’t respond in time, all their posts and videos will only look as lip service to cover the issue. Thus being prompt in response is important during Mass criticism.
AirAsia set an epitome example of prompt replies in crisis management on social media. Here is what actually happened.
On 28 December 2014, AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 was scheduled for an international passenger flight from Indonesia to Singapore.
The aircraft lost contact with air traffic controllers and crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 155 passengers and seven crew on board.
Tony Fernandes, a major stakeholder of AirAsia, stepped in to represent the company. He managed this crisis through social media by tweeting via AirAsia’s own Twitter account about the incident that they would have a statement soon, barely an hour after it happened.
What about Trolling?
Trolling is entirely a different scenario. Here public is criticizing you for fun rather than to solve an actual issue. The public may constitute of your competitor or their employees and freaks who enjoy poking their nose in others’ affairs.
The choice of your response will depend on the platform where trolling takes place–Is it under your control or not?
If the communication is running on your published sources like your Facebook page or LinkedIn page, you can delete the comment with a message stating, “we respect public feedback, but inappropriate intent and language don’t produce fruitful results. Hence the message was deleted.”
If the trolling happens on a third party source which you have no control; it is best not to get involved in it. You can publish your explanation message to present your view on your social media instead of directly responding to trollers.
How to deal with Individual Criticism:
You can classify individual negative comments in two group and there is a separate strategy to deal with each.
A.Negative comments on common issues.
B. Negative comments on infrequent issues.
A. How to deal with negative comments on common issues:
To deal with individual criticism on common issues, you can prepare a list of common queries or problems that people may encounter relating to your business.
Start with your past complaint logs to find issues that your customers have complained before. Then you can brainstorm for other issues with your team to create a comprehensive list of possible issues.
Once this comprehensive list is ready, you need to write their best possible concise replies. Make sure the responses directly address the issues without being too lengthy.
You can publish your replies in separate FAQ section of your website. This proactive approach makes both your and your customers’ life easy. Customers get all the information they need to use your products and services effectively at one place and you make your day free from unnecessary tension.
However, If the solution you suggest requires complex action steps, it is best to write your solution as a blog post with screenshots and relevant images to give your readers step by step guidance.
In case, your target audience cannot solve the issue on their own. It is important that you give them a helping hand and solve the issue over the phone or in person.
Because there is nothing more frustrating than solving a complex issue at own when a customer has paid for the service.
Preparing this comprehensive list of common issues and writing their replies may seem a daunting & time-consuming task, but it is worth the efforts for two reasons:
1. This comprehensive list will help you delegate the communication task.
2. It speeds up the complaint redressal process which is the crucial factor for customer satisfaction.
B. How to deal with negative comments on infrequent issues:
For the infrequent negative issues, the best strategy is to take the discussion offline rather than making it a public issue.
A simple message template like, “please provide your phone number or email id so we can help you out”, will take the discussion offline and save your face on social media.
For annoyed customers who are facing extreme inconvenience due to the issue, you can also offer discount coupons or freebies to compensate for the inconvenience. With freebie strategy, our goal is to pacify an annoyed customer because your business reputation is worth more than freebies and discounts.
But remember to only offer freebie or discount as the last resort and that too when the conversation is offline, otherwise, you make risk increasing negative comments just for the sake of getting discount/freebie.
There is one more category of comments that may not be negative but is irrelevant–The Spam comments.
How to deal with Spam comments:
Social media is a great place to establish business communication, but some people don’t understand it. They publish irrelevant self-promotional comments on others’ social media, we call these people spammers.
You can delete spam messages without thinking twice with a message of unrelated communication.
Publish comment policy:
A best practice with comment management is to publish your comment policy on your online assets like blog, website etc.
When it comes to Facebook, you can publish your comment policy as a post and pin it to the top so that it becomes the first posts that people see on your social media to get the hint of what they are allowed to do.
Alternatively, you can publish your comment policy in the About section on social media accounts.
The above-mentioned scenario will cover most of the negative comment cases, for others you have to rely on your wits.
Getting some negative comments is better than getting no negative comment. Most dissatisfied customers abandon products and services without even giving feedback about their problems. Genuine negative comments from people will take your business to the next level when you work on them.
Taking negative comment in positive spirit is difficult but can you improve the business system.
How do you deal with negative comments on Facebook business page? Tell me in the comment below.
- Tony_Fernandes: Wikipaedia.com
- Negative Comment Strategy: Abhishek Suneri