Responding to the Social Media Savvy Consumer

It seems everyone is a ‘critic’ these days, well everyone who has a Facebook account anyway.  Gone are the days where people would attack a call centre operator because their packet of Smiths chips was half empty, your unhappy consumer will now head to Facebook and post a scathing comment detailing their level of displeasure. 

Businesswoman Screaming into Telephone

After recently reading a post about ‘How to attack social media trolls  I was made aware of the damaging effects social media savvy consumers can have on a brand and the necessary steps on how to respond to them. The key points being:

• Show empathy to consumers

• Respond quickly

• Communicate that you take the issue seriously

Laurel Papworth, one of Forbes Magaazine’s Top 50 Social Media Influencers Globally, discussed this topic in depth in an article on how to respond to criticism in online communities. What she makes pretty clear is there is no cookie cutter approach to dealing with negative comments and that each consumer and situation should be addressed differently.

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For example for issues that are known to the business and have already been publicly addressed an ‘ignore but monitor’ strategy can be implemented in response to negative comments. However for more than one negative reviewer the ‘thank you – oh look something shiny’ approach could be used where the issue is addressed but is deflected to a more positive discussion.

Brands can’t control the negative things people say but they can control how they respond. You should treat negative comments as opportunities to show your unhappy customers you’re willing to make it right. In my opinion a little bit of humour can never go astray, as in some cases moving away from corporate jargon can let the brand’s true colours shine.

My personal favourite response by a brand to one of their unhappy Facebook commentators would have to be Bodypro’s spoof video. Making pads and periods funny? Well that’s just something that simply needs to be applauded.