How to Handle Negative Reviews on Your Facebook Fan Page – Pt. 1
How to Handle Negative Reviews on Your Facebook Fan Page
If your company or organization has a Facebook fan page, you probably will get some sort of negative review. This happens. Nobody’s immune from this. Get over the fact that it’s going to happen if it hasn’t happened already.
For a wide variety of reasons, there are people who just are impossible to please. Maybe they just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe they just have something against your company. Whatever the case may be, even if you have bent over backwards to provide the very best service, people can and do find something to complain about. In fact, they would complain about anything. Oftentimes, it has nothing to do with the service or product that you offer.
How do you handle such negativity especially when it is expressed in a very public way in a comment on your Facebook page? The first thing that you need to understand is that the worst way to handle any kind of negative review or comment is to delete that comment. I know it’s very tempting. After all, see no evil, hear no evil, is in the minds of many people the same as no evil.
Make no mistake about it. You can’t stick your head in the sand and pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. Chances are, if you keep deleting negative reviews and comments, it’s probably going to blow up in your face. People will refer to that episode or incident and say that you run a lousy company because you don’t let honest discourse take place over your offerings.
It’s easy to understand why some businesses respond that way. After all, they fully realize that their brand is at stake. They can’t help but be reactive but that’s precisely what you have to avoid. You can’t be reactive. Instead, you have to respond using a systematic and methodical approach.
What I’m going to step you through below helps ensure that your brand survives any negative review. In fact, if you play your cards right, your brand will come out smelling like roses if you use the technique below. This technique is actually used by big name companies like Starbucks. There are no two ways about it. Starbucks has their share of negative feedback. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, Starbucks has a great way of addressing and diffusing negative reviews and comments. You should apply something similar.
Here are the steps:
Step #1: Acknowledge the negative reviewer’s opinion
This is important. People like to feel that they matter. People like to be acknowledged. It’s not like you’re just blowing them off. You’re not telling them, “Get out of my face. You don’t count. You’re nobody. You’re not important.” You have to do the precise opposite. You have to acknowledge their opinion as well as the fact that it’s negative.
How do you do this? One tried and proven formula is to use the sentence “I’m sorry you feel that way but …” Pay attention to the word “but”. When you say “I’m sorry”, you’re acknowledging that there was something wrong. You’re acknowledging the fact that they left a negative review. Also, when you reference their feelings, this lets them know and puts them on notice that you actually pay attention to them and that they are important to you.
However, by saying the word “but”, this clues people into what you’re about to do. You’re going to rebut their statement. You’re going to paint a different story or you’re going to lay out facts that undermine their conclusion.
Step #2: Come up with a short and punchy summary of why the negative review was wrong
Don’t beat around the bush. When you say the word “but”, you’re going to launch into an argument that proves why the negative review was wrong. The best way to do this is to write out your rebuttal first. After you’ve thoroughly read through all the points you’re trying to make, come up with a summary and try to compress that into one powerful punchy phrase or sentence and plug that into the acknowledgment sentence that began your response.
Step #3: Respond as soon as possible
A lot of businesses think that negative reviews are just going to blow over. They’re thinking that somebody just got heated or is just overly emotional. Instead of responding immediately, they wait a couple of days at least. Given how busy many business people are, don’t be surprised if those days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. By that time, your brand has been tarnished.
Do yourself a big favor and respond as soon as possible. If you can respond within a few hours, come up with a very strong statement so that everybody and anybody who’s paying attention can be put on notice that you take your brand seriously and that you will guard it against any slander or any smear.
If anything, this discourages people from posting all sorts of garbage on your own Facebook page because they feel that you don’t really pay attention and this stops poisoning your brand because other prospective customers might still be visiting your page only to see all these negative reviews.