The 3 Golden Rules for FB issue resolution.

Let’s paint a picture. Your brand’s Facebook (FB) page is going from strength to strength. You have an engaged community of fans who are expressing their love for your brand and products online, friends of fans are seeing these positive social recommendations and this is increasing their awareness of your brand, your fan base is growing and you’re confident your objectives of increasing brand love and customer satisfaction are being met – maybe your sales are even increasing. Then, all of a sudden, a new kind of person appears on your page. One who is very dissatisfied with your brand or products, and ignores all your attempts to be kind, empathetic and generous in offering a solution to their dissatisfaction. It seems no matter what you say, they cannot be appeased.

Don’t worry, this is a normal part of the FB experience for brands and we have three golden rules for you to follow if you find yourself in this situation.

The key thing to remember is that the majority of people are fans of your brand on FB because they genuinely like you. Therefore, when another fan is posting negative comments this won’t necessarily impact your fans’ opinions of your brand. However, the way you handle the problematic fan will.

Golden Rule 1. Listen, respond and take the conversation offline.

Where a fan appears unreasonable in their comments, other fans will still expect you to demonstrate that you’re listening and are respectful to them. An answer which apologises for the customer’s experience, thanks the customer for letting you know, and offers to discuss the problem further with them (preferably away from the FB medium) to see if anything can be done further is preferrable.

Golden Rule 2. Always play nice – never nasty or neutral.

Always be the bigger person. Where a fan complains, even if it seems unreasonable – remember there is probably a legitimate reason for their disappointment. Perhaps they were treated unfairly in-store. Your responses must be nice, even when the fan isn’t. Even being too neutral will make your brand come across unfavourably.

Golden Rule 3. Know when to stop the conversation.

Is the fan completely unreasonable and unappeasable? If you have shown concern and made your best attempt to find a solution for them, yet they are still bombarding your page with negative sentiment about your brand and products, it’s time to shut the conversation down. Make a final response designed to cut the conversation off like:

“We’re sorry we weren’t able to help. Please contact us on [ ] if you’d like to talk about this further.”

If all else fails, you may need to go as far as blocking, or hiding certain posts. However, it is always best on social media to be as transparent as possible. Only do these things when all other attempts to resolve the situation have failed. You may even find that passionate fans of your brand will jump in and defend you against unreasonable fans. Self-regulation is the best kind of regulation on social media.

Take the criticism as a chance to demonstrate your brand values to your fans. Show your brand’s human side and your commitment to customer satisfaction. If you show concern, responsiveness and always keep a positive friendly tone while doing so, you can turn a problematic fan experience into a chance to establish trust and goodwill with your fan base.

Author: Virginia Bashford