Picture this: you're the owner of a steak restaurant and you manage a Facebook site where you post about your specials. You post a beautiful picture of a succulent medium-rare steak with a side of mashed potatoes with grilled vegetables *chef's kiss* People love it! People are commenting "Mmmmm, this looks good" and "wow! I gotta come in sometime soon!"
But then, clouds start forming, and you feel a raindrop hit your head, and a strike of thunder happens. BA-BOOM! There's a negative comment on your delicious photo. All of the sudden, Cynthia from Carrollton comments on your post. She said "This looks awful. I like my steak well-done, and I don't like mashed potatoes, it reminds me of baby food." A bead of sweat drips down your face. A negative comment on a picture of steak? This is unheard of! How do you even react to this? Who the heck likes a well-done steak and flaunts it? Mashed potatoes are God's gift!
Cynthia does and she wants to make sure you know it.
Welcome to the world of social media: Where everyone is 2x as confident behind the screen than in real life
(I'm sure there's a study out there that can back this claim up). Negative comments can really put a damper on your day. But there are a bunch of do's and don't s when it comes to responding to Cynthia's comments and her wicked ways.
Respond in a Timely Manner
Take up to one day to respond - tops. When people interact with your post, such as commenting on it, your post will stay on top of someone's newsfeed. This means that more people will be seeing that post and negative comment and will see how long it has taken you to respond. You want to be the Facebook page which responds in a timely manner, so others in the future may want to ask you a question, and they will not hesitate to ask because you will respond quickly.
Personalize Your Message
"Dear respected customer" isn't how you address a negative comment. Her name is Cynthia. Say "Hey, Cynthia!" Please don't call her Cyn, or C-dawg. Calling someone by their name, especially by a Facebook page, makes someone feel like their message isn't getting lost and it's being taken seriously. Your page will look more personable and genuine, which is something others love to see in a business.
Take the Comment as a Grain of Salt
Don't get me wrong; there are a lot of negative comments you will face that are going to be a big deal. But a comment like Cynthia's isn't going to ruin the reputation of your business unless you respond terribly. I don't know why Cynthia had to let you know her terrible preference in how a beautiful piece of meat is cooked. Still, you have to remember everyone uses social media in their own way. Cynthia might be commenting on her friend's photos and statuses frequently so when she sees an image from your business, it's natural for her to put her 2 cents in. Take a deep breath and don't take the comment personally.
Offer an Alternative
So what we have gathered from Cynthia's comment is that she doesn't hate your business, she hates medium-rare steak. Mashed potatoes *cough, MONSTER, cough* That's totally *gulp* fine because you actually have your steaks made to order so the customer has freedom of how they want it cooked. You have a lot more variations of potato. A way to respond to her comment is to offer an alternative. Don't try to make Cynthia eat the medium-rare steak, but show her she has the freedom of choice, and you are happy to cater to it. Offer different sides or different ways a steak can be cooked. This shows that you care what the customer has to say, and you're committed to offering that customer service to fit their preferences.
Wait Too Long to Respond
It's like a high-five, don't leave the person hanging! Even if it's a negative comment. Of course, take some time to think about what response route you want to take. But don't take more than a day to respond. Cynthia knows you saw her comment and she's waiting for your reply as she eats her well-done steak *shudders*.
Respond Rudely or Sarcastically
I know, I know. Cynthia's comment deserves something like "Do you want a side of leather couch with your steak?" Please don't resort to a sarcastic or rude comment. It's not a pretty shade for your social media account. Don't forget; others frequent your page who may not enjoy you berating a customer because of their poor choice of steak taste. Be nice! Maybe she had a bad experience with a medium-rare steak, and she's just simply voicing her opinion. It's just a lot safer to be friendly than mean, and you will get a better response to your reply once you cook it up!
Delete or Ignore the comment
Cynthia might forget she posted that comment, but some Cynthias don't. They wait in their "Live, Laugh, Love" decorated living room, waiting for a reply. So, suppose you DO delete the negative comment. In that case, you bet your little butt that she's going to comment on future posts regarding that comment or to be petty in general. Also, don't ignore her comment and tend to only the positive ones. Yes, positive ones are nice, but try to tend to comments in chronological order of how they came in.
Post the "I'm sorry for you're the inconvenience, our butcher shop takes pride in blah blah blah" Boring I'm a Robot Crap
Be genuine with your comment. Here are some tips in crafting a perfect reply
· Call the commenter by their name: Cynthia
· DO say you're sorry: "We are sorry"
· Acknowledge their angst: "We are aware that you don't like medium-rare steak and mashed potatoes"
· Offer a solution: "But, we make our steaks to order, so you can pick how you want to be cooked, and how do you like your potatoes? We got them baked.." etc. etc.
All in all, you have to remember the people who follow you on social media can see how you respond to others. It's important to remember that as easy as it is to respond sarcastically or rude to a negative comment online, think of how you wouldn't respond the same way if it were a face-to-face situation. What is the perfect response? It goes something like this...
"Hey Cynthia! No worries! We make steaks to order so we will be happy to cook your steak however you want. How do you like your potatoes? We also got them baked and fried. We hope to see you soon so we can cook up the perfect lunch for you!"
Your social media can make or break you, so make sure that no Cynthias out there will tear you down!