29 Nov How to Handle Critical Feedback on Social Media
One of the best things about social media is that you can build a highly engaged online community of people who value your agency and/or your services. However, social media is a two-way street, which means you’re bound to get negative feedback at some point in time.
Critical comments, though, while seemingly negative, are really an opportunity, according to Steve Anderson, insurance industry thought leader. He explains: “Good listening skills are important in any agency if you’re going to be successful. And that’s especially true when it comes to social media, where listening is every bit as important as talking.”
When negative feedback happens, it’s best to have a plan in place to handle it and turn it into a positive opportunity. Here’s how to get started:
- Acknowledge every comment. First and foremost, you should be acknowledging every comment or reply to you – both positive and negative – even with a quick “like” of the comment or a “Thanks for the kind words” reply. According to an Accenture study, 48 percent of consumers consider social media comments when making insurance-buying decisions, so it’s important that you’re part of those conversations. That way when negative feedback does happen you’re already in the habit of replying and it doesn’t seem like you just emerged from behind the scenes to go on the defensive.
- Sort out what kind of comment it is. People often post on social media without any second thought, and it’s often hard to figure out the tone of the post. Try to sort out what type of comment it is, though, so you can better respond. Is it just a customer alerting you to an issue? Are they dissatisfied with a service? Do they just want to be heard in some way? Or are they going on the attack? Understanding the intent behind the comment can help you prepare a better response.
- Decide on your approach. You should already have a written out strategy for how you’ll use and post to social media, but your strategy should also include responding to comments. For instance, as part of MetLife’s strategy they identified responding to customer complaints on social media within two hours as one of their goals. There are two main ways to approach negative feedback. First, you can choose to be completely transparent and provide all answers on your social profile so that anyone can see and read it. Or, you can politely ask the commenter to take the conversation off of the social media channel and contact you personally through email or by phone.
- Write a script. Just like telemarketers and customer service representatives have a script for commonly asked questions or responses, you should have a script for potential negative feedback comments. That way when a comment does come in, you’re not scrambling or struggling with how to respond. Remember the script can be tweaked and customized, but it’s good to have some canned responses as a starting point. Many times people use social media as another form of customer support. In face, research from LeadShift showed that many insurers feel one of the top benefits of social media is providing customer support.
- Be proactive. Avoid a possible negative feedback situation by being proactive. For instance, if you experience a sudden phone or email outage, put a post on social media alerting your customers of the outage and that you’ll be responding within 24 hours of being back online.
No one likes negative feedback, especially when it’s posted on social media. When you approach the comments as an opportunity to listen to your clients and gather constructive criticism, however, you can turn a potentially bad situation into a chance to learn and grow.