As a business owner, there’s something about seeing a negative Facebook review that feels like a kick in the gut. It’s also likely to send you to immediately Google “How to delete negative reviews on your Facebook page.”
Whether you’re a small shop doing your best to juggle everything, or a large corporation with a team to take care of your social media, seeing a complaint in black and white (and for all of the internet world to see), can strike fear. Especially when you discover after that Google search that there’s not much you can do if the complaint appears to be legit.
There may not be much you can do, but here’s what you should do: reply to it.
But first let’s back up and clarify the “legit” part of the issue. If you’re hit with a review that appears to be fake, spammy or just plain false, you can report it to Facebook. However, Facebook won’t delete it immediately. And unless it is illegal, dangerous or threatening in some way, they’ll likely decline your request to delete negative reviews on your Facebook page.
Now, on to the “reply to it” suggestion
Once you’ve determined a negative review is likely a real comment from a real customer, don’t ignore it. Consider it an opportunity. When you respond, you’re showing new potential customers that you’re listening, and that you make your customers happy. It also gives you a chance to squash any misinformation about your company, product, or service. There’s a chance the issue was a simple misunderstanding. But you’ll never know unless you ask.
Start your reply by apologizing politely, then offer to find out what exactly happened and state that you’ll do your best to make it right. Make sure your language is genuine and conversation-like, rather than a scripted response. Always address the customer by their first name.
Also include an email address in your reply and ask the reviewer to contact you directly. It can be a generic email address, such as an Info@companyname, or consider creating a special email for social media conversations, such as socialmedia@company. Using email takes the issue off Facebook and will make the customer feel like they have a real contact person on the other end of the line.
Customers are watching
Depending on the nature of the complaint, the back and forth could go on, but do your best to resolve it, and stay on top of the conversation. A recent study from BrightLocal revealed that of the online review factors consumers care about most, “If the business responds to reviews” came in at an impressive 78%. That means customers are paying attention to your reaction.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: consider the online complaint just as important as someone walking into your business and complaining. You would never completely ignore them. A complaint via a social media conversation is no different.
Once you resolve the issue, the reviewer may remove their original negative post. Or better yet—they’ll post a reply about the positive follow-up experience. If so, reply with a “Thank you for the opportunity for us to make it right” or some other short acknowledgment.
Let’s be honest and admit that you may not be able to make it right with every disgruntled customer but showing that you tried reflects a much more positive customer experience than a negative review that goes unaddressed for all to see on your Facebook page.
Take the bad (Facebook reviews) with the good (Facebook reviews)
Facebook business page owners do have the option to turn off reviews completely. While this eliminates the possibility of negative reviews, it also eliminates the possibility of having positive reviews to catch the eye of potential customers.
An additional caveat of not having a Reviews page: disgruntled customers will likely take their complaints to your Facebook newsfeed, responding in the comments sections of your regular posts. A Reviews page will give them a dedicated place to air their grievances and keep the conversation contained within one post.
The big picture
Obviously, social media is here to stay. And it will continue to intertwine with the customer experience. If you’re not paying attention to what customers are saying via your social media accounts, there is no time like the present. If you need a little guidance on your path forward, we’re here to help—contact us today.
Lisa Kirchhoff is a copywriter, creative strategist, and social media enthusiast.Social tagging: Social media