No one likes to hear negative feedback, especially if it isn’t given in the context of constructive criticism.
So I understand why it is the first instinct of many of my clients, friends and colleagues to delete any negative comments and posts on their professional social media pages and websites.
In their minds, they are removing the negativity and complaints and thus disassociating it from themselves and their business. Deleted = gone.
But there are several problems with this method.
In the various stages of my career, as a communications professional for larger organizations and now as business owner myself, I have advocated for letting negative feedback stand on business social media pages.
Here is why.
First, customer feedback is valuable in all forms. Good feedback, in the form of testimonials, positive reviews and kudos, are valuable for obvious reasons.
But negative feedback, concerns or complaints can also be valuable. Use that information to evaluate your business, your staff and the services you are providing. Was there a problem that could be remedied for that customer or for future customers? How can you improve?
Remember, the customer took to social media or your website to complain BECAUSE he or she knew everyone could see it. He or she was fully aware that the world was watching for your response. So make that work in your favor!
Instead of deleting the comment, respond with the very best customer service you can provide. Show the customer – and everyone else who is watching – what kind of service you provide to customers when they are dissatisfied.
As a consumer, I am often MOST impressed with businesses who handle disgruntled or dissatisfied customers on social media with grace and fantastic customer service.
If I see a business ignoring a customer’s complaint or concern, that tells me I’ll have the same response if I buy from that business and have a problem.
Deleting a comment does not make it go away. The individual will likely comment again, and call you out for deleting their complaint.
Yes, of course you can ban them. But it is generally bad practice to go around banning people (unless of course they are an internet troll going around doing nothing but stirring the pot for no apparent reason.)
And, let’s always remember this – nothing you do on the internet is ever really erased. Someone, somewhere probably took a screenshot of the page. Truly. It happens all the time.
My few exceptions to my no-delete rule are the following:
- Spammers – people who comment or post on your pages with content unrelated to you or your business. Delete those immediately and report them if you can.
- Potty mouths* – inevitably, there will be some folks who get so riled up that they used foul language. My suggestion is to reply to their comment with something like the following “Mr. ??, we appreciate your feedback and would be happy to discuss this with you. However, please remove and refrain from using inappropriate language in your posts or we will be forced to delete it.”
- Anyone posting hate speech or defamatory, libelous, illegal or any potentially harmful language – delete it. This should go without saying.
- Trolls – there are always some folks who are just there to cause problems. They may not even be customers. You’ll know them because they won’t let it go. If you encounter someone like this – or anyone who seems to get more upset the more you try to work through the issue, always suggest taking the conversation off-line to phone or email.
But in most cases, I advocate for responding, appropriately and with good customer service in mind, to all comments on your businesses’ social media pages and websites.
Do it promptly and with the same amount of patience and professionalism you would if the person was standing in front of you. Do it as though the entire world were watching you – because they are.
Need help with your social media strategy? Contact 618 Creative.
*You should always have your profanity filter on!