Opportunity in Negative Social Posts

By Emma Fitzpatrick  

Do you ever get the sense that you hear more from your unhappy customers on social media than the people who love you?

As it turns out, that’s not just a feeling. It’s a fact. Those who’ve suffered a bad interaction with a company were 50 percent more likely to share it on social media. And they’re five time more likely to share it with people, both online and in real life, than those had a good experience.

Thanks to social media, people have the power to call out businesses and banks that upset them. Eighty-one percent of people believe social media has increased accountability for companies. By airing their own grievances (and sharing others as well), they aren’t looking to shame you. Instead, most (54 percent) simply want a response.

When you take a deep breath and calmly respond, it can do wonders. Sixty-nine percent of people who tweeted negatively felt more favorable about the company when they got a response. Going the extra mile and resolving the issue can really pay off. A Twitter study found that people were willing to pay three times more for their monthly phone plan when telco companies resolved negative tweets.

While this type of ROI might be difficult to translate to the banking world, it goes to show just how much power resolving an issue on social media can have.

Here are three tips to better handle negative comments on social media.

  1. Never delete the comment.

It might feel good to hit the “delete” or “hide” button and see that negative comment disappear into the ether. But as satisfying as it would be in the moment, your problem would likely only get worse from there.

If you were to ignore the comment, 40 percent of customers would reach out to your bank in another way. Eighteen percent of people will stay vigilant and post again on social. This time, you can guarantee they’ll be angrier.

But a whopping 35 percent will simply boycott your brand if they don’t get a response.

  1. Respond quickly.

Jay Baer, keynote speaker at the upcoming ABA Bank Marketing Conference, points out that on social, 42 percent of customers expect a response from your brand within 60 minutes, while more than 66 percent want a response within the same day.

That expectation stays the same every day of the week. More than half of those people expect that same response time—even if it’s after business hours or on the weekend.

Every minute matters on social. You should always have someone standing by ready to help during standard business hours. Often, depending on volume, it’s best to have a customer service representative trained to handle requests like this on social.

For those requests that come in after hours, set up an automated response on Facebook Messenger. It shows you care and sets the expectation of when they’ll hear back from you.

  1. Do your best to solve the issue.

Get this. If you post an unhelpful response to a customer complaining on social, 50 percent of people express willingness to boycott your business, while 42 percent will share their negative experience offline with their friends. That could do even more damage than just ignoring the comment in the first place.

But, here lies the opportunity. If you provide a helpful response, 44 percent of those people will go back to their social page. This time, though, they’ll post about the positive interaction. Thirty percent of people will even go so far as to recommend your bank.

The real magic happens, though, when you go the extra mile. Depending on the comment, that means either offering a sincere apology or solving the problem. There are times when you’re likely going to want to ditch the script and truly bend over backwards to right the wrong.

Think it through before you send a response that sounds like this:

“Thanks for sharing your experience. We’re sorry to hear you had a problem. For the last 100 years, we have striven to provide excellent customer service. Please fill out this form on our website so that we can help resolve this issue.”

Canned responses like that often fall flat in response to negative social feedback. Here’s why—and what you can do to fix it.

  • Problem: The above answer implies you don’t know what their problem is.
  • Solution: Mention the specific problem when replying to show you’re listening. Ideally, use the same language the customer did.
  • Problem: This response shirks responsibility and makes more work for the customer.
  • Solution: Pass along a blog post, an FAQ solutions page or any advice that will help them. Whoever is handling the complaints on social should have a myriad of tools in their belt to fix bad situations. Think refunds or freebies. Or it could even be the phone number of the person who could solve customer complaints instantly.

In short, you want to listen to your customers’ feedback, empathize with their problems and do everything within your power to make them happy. If you can do that quickly, you’ve just turned an angry customer into a powerful brand advocate for your bank.

Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social media marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at emma.l.fitzpatrick@gmail.com.    

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