It is a natural response to act impulsively or defensively in the face of negativity – especially when it comes in the form of a complaint on social media. Social media has given consumers a direct line to reach a brand and, while this gives brands an exciting opportunity, it can sometimes feel as though boundaries no longer exist.

The automatic human response is to either ignore the problem or make it personal; however, as a brand, you cannot afford to react in this way. No response is a response – and a bad response has the potential to tarnish the reputation of the brand forever.

By not responding to a post, or having a delayed response, you are indirectly telling your customers that you do not care. And that is something a consumer will never forget.

In order to avoid losing consumers over a complaint or query, there needs to be a plan in place. Make sure you have a team behind your brand who are dedicated to responding to these types of queries.

Consistency is key. You cannot respond one way to one consumer and a different way to another. Consumers are smart, and if they suspect that you have treated one better than the other, they will make it known. To avoid this, and be prepared for what may come, have a list of set responses ready for the most common complaints or queries.

Not only does this cut your response time in half, but it continues to showcase your brand’s consistency and dedication to solving issues correctly. It is also important to respond as humanly as possible – your brand is not a robot, and your replies shouldn’t be either.

By responding in a human manner, you can avoid turning the problem into a catastrophe. You need to be able to deal with the complaints as quickly as possible, and if this can be done in a calm manner, it makes all the difference.

When a consumer feels as though you understand their complaint, they are more likely to discuss the issue calmly with the brand representative. Having said this, you should always remember that if the conversation turns ugly, you need to take it offline.

If you feel that the conversation is taking a turn for the worst, don’t be afraid to message the consumer directly and respond calmly. Remember that if an ugly conversation is public, it can be screenshotted and sent to the world.

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*Image courtesy of Vecteezy