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The Dreaded Social Media Confrontation

|Jul 3|magazine10 min read

The June edition of The Business Review Canada is now live!

By: Heather Legg

Maybe a customer wasn’t completely happy with your work or product, maybe you didn’t complete something on time, or maybe you just didn’t mix with a customer or client and he’s taking it out on you online. It’s not pretty and probably not great for business, so now you have to figure out what to do.

Remember, social media is a blessing and a curse. People can love you all day long and it’s wonderful. But as soon as someone says something negative, true or not, it makes your heart plunge and you are faced with handling a confrontation. Part of how you handle it depends on what’s said.

The charm of Facebook and Twitter is the opportunity to interact with your clients and customers. However, when they say something negative, it’s there for everyone to see, and how you react says a lot about your business. The key is to stay professional no matter what.

If the comment is so ugly that you cannot respond in any practical way, try to remove/delete it if you can and just ignore it. Some things should not be made public and by the way it’s said, others will know the truth.

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Keep What You Can Out of Public View

Just as if you had a ranting customer in your brick and mortar store, you wouldn’t confront and fight them, you’d just want them to leave, that’s how you should handle the irrational comments - quietly get them out of the public eye and try not to draw attention to them.

However, if a legitimate complaint shows up or a truly dissatisfied customer expresses frustration, try to remedy it.

Again, think how you’d handle it in person.

State your case and offer an apology. Don’t try to make excuses, just see how you can fix it. Remember the old adage, the customer is always right? That still holds true, and if a client complains because you were two hours late, and you were, get that public apology on social media. Throw in there that is unusual to have happened (if it is) and apologize.

Do You Have a Solution?

If your product didn’t meet standards or expectations, respond on social media with how you’ll remedy it – maybe you’ll replace, refund, offer a future discount, do what it takes – let all of your customers see that.

Maybe you have a comment that isn’t really a confrontation, but does hold some negative, inaccurate information. What do you do in this case? Gently correct it. Don’t shout out, “You’re wrong!” Instead, thank the writer for the comment, and then supply the accurate info.

Just as Facebook, Twitter and your site’s comment section are for the public eye and those confrontational comments are there for everyone to read, so is how you react. By all means stay professional. Keep calm. Don’t ignite any flames.

Also, don’t delete all negative comments. Sometimes when the public sees you admitting, apologizing and amending a problem, you are seen in an even better light.

Remember, social media is that blessing and that curse.

Sometimes the devil may show up, and you’ve got to deal with that just as much as the angels singing your praises.

About the Author: Heather Legg is a writer who covers a variety of topics including social media etiquette, small businesses, and nursery cribs.