If you manage your real estate company's Facebook page, it is inevitable that you will encounter negative comments from fans at some stage. While this can be a big shock, especially if the comment is unjustified, it is vital to remain calm and tackle the issue head on. If handled correctly, the situation can easily be defused and can even help to boost brand loyalty and client retention.
Here are a few tips to help you handle this dreaded situation effectively:
1) Respond quickly
Try to respond to the comment within an hour. If you cannot provide a solution right away, notify the client that you are looking into the matter and that you will revert back to them as soon as you can. Your audience wants to know that their concerns are heard, and acknowledging them will help to calm them down.
If possible, let them know how long it will take to get back to them. This will ensure that there are no unrealistic expectations and further negative feedback as a result.
2) Own up
Own up to your mistakes. Your clients might be more understanding than you think. Instead of trying to justify the issue or cover it up, show some vulnerability. Your clients know that no business is perfect and will be more likely to oversee the mistake if you offer a sincere apology.
Avoid copying and pasting an apology that lacks emotion, instead show your human side and use your natural tone of voice.
3) Tackle issues offline
Negative comments often encourage others to join in and voice their opinions about your brand, thereby making the issue even bigger. Try to resolve issues offline and keep it out of the public eye.
Obtain the client's contact information and give them a call to clear up the issue. This personal approach will help to calm the client and will ensure that the matter doesn't escalate online. They might even go back to your page to commend your swift response and thank you for resolving their issue.
4) Be personal
Your clients want to know that you feel strongly about good customer service. If they complain about a certain issue, they want you to acknowledge it. Responding with an automated reply will make your client feel like you don't value their business and that you are not willing to take the time to understand why they are frustrated.
Reassure your clients by:
- Using a conversational tone
- Including their name in your response
- Explaining how you will go about to resolve their issue
- Taking ownership if it was your mistake
- Acknowledging their situation in your response
While automated replies can save a lot of time, it is advised that you personalise your messages. This illustrates to your audience that you care about them enough to make the effort.
5) Don’t get offended
It's very easy to take negative comments on social media personally, especially if you value great customer service and professionalism. It is important however, to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that the client is not angry at you, but at the situation they are in. Don't respond in a defensive manner in an attempt to prove the client wrong as this might make matters worse.
6) What's the plan?
It is essential to have an effective escalation plan in place to ensure that all complaints are dealt with in a timely manner. A list of employees who can assist with specific issues along with valid contact details should be easily accessible to those managing the company's Facebook page.
An escalation policy not only speeds up your response time on social media, but also helps employees find solutions more quickly.
7) Always follow up
Responding to a negative comment is only step one. It is necessary to follow up to ensure that you've fully met the client's needs. This approach shows your clients that you value their opinion and that you put their needs first.
It is advised to follow up with the client within a couple of days as this helps to identify early issues. It's also a great way to get feedback about the client's overall experience with your real estate company.
8) Don’t Delete Negative Comments
It's normal to just want to get rid of the negative comment, but resist the temptation. Facebook users don't take kindly to their opinions and concerns being deleted and they will keep commenting and venting till you eventually respond. They might even complain about your brand on other social media platforms. Isolate the issue by addressing it directly on your page.
If the client does overstep their boundaries, a social media policy will come in handy. Provide a link to this resource or issue a warning to the client. In a case like this, it's okay to delete or block the person.
Let's recap. It's impossible to keep everyone happy and the occasional negative comment on Facebook is very likely to occur. If it does happen, be honest and open with your clients and try your best to resolve their issue. Providing great customer service on such a public platform will illustrate to prospective clients that you are a fantastic real estate company to partner with.