In today’s world, dealing with online comments and reviews is just a part of everyday business.
Whether on Facebook or TripAdvisor, it’s important that brands and their teams understand the etiquette of responding to comments online so your reputation is maintained and you avoid any negative backlash.
With that, here are our 5 best practices when responding to your guests online:
Have a Strategy
Before responding to reviews or commenters online it’s important to have a social media strategy in place. Not only will this enable employees to effectively respond but it will provide them with a map of how to respond to various kinds of posts and what to do if things escalate.
A strategy will also provide a high level view for managers of what employees should be doing with brand-owned accounts, for instance: Guidelines for who they should they be monitoring, rules for posting accurate information, the various accounts they can and cannot post on, circumstances where it is appropriate for an employee to pass a comment onto a manger, and so on.
According to a study backed by Convince and Convert, 42% of respondents who had attempted to contact a brand, product, or company, expected a response in 60 minutes, and 32% of respondents expected a response in 30 minutes. When you consider these statistics, these are not an unreasonable set of expectations in terms of response time.
If your employees aren’t responding in a timely manner, you’re annoying your customers. It’s important to ensure you have a dedicated person or team that is monitoring or has notifications set for social comments, direct messages, or reviews. If a guest is having an issue, you want to resolve it as fast as possible to deter any further escalation. If you are using a solution like Loop to manage direct messages from customers, you can use escalations which allow you to auto forward a request or message to another team member if your first-responder is overburdened.
Be Professional and Positive
Often when people generate negative comments online it is because they want their voice to be heard. As a brand, it’s your responsibility to realize that they are dissatisfied, to show them you appreciate their feedback and reassure them that you will address the issue and do what it takes to provide a positive solution.
The last thing a customer needs when they are vulnerable is an employee with an attitude or an employee with vague/unhelpful answers. An easy rule of thumb is to treat online customers as you would in person – treat them with respect, show a genuine interest in resolving the issue, and work to resolve in a professional yet contained manner, which brings us to our next point.
Take it to the DM’s
It most cases, it is vital to take the conversation off public forums and into a private chat. Ask the commenter to private message you so they can further explain their issues and you can respond appropriately.
A private conversation is powerful, it lets the customer know you care about their issues and can rectify the situation fast without being in the public eye.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Criticism from customers can be a tough pill to swallow, but recognizing issues with your product and/or your services is a step towards improvement. It’s critical to open up various avenues to obtain feedback, whether good or bad knowing what your customers think is important for all aspects of your business. If you don’t have a process in place already, schedule an ongoing review meeting with key internal stakeholders and share any trending discussions or concerns being expressed online. This helps to ensure that internal teams can strategize to fix issues over time – be it product, service, or quality related.
Learn more about what the future of customer service looks like in our latest post TEXTING: THE FUTURE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE