23 May 2017
How to handle negative social media feedback
Social media is hugely important to a car dealer. It offers a place to be social with customers, tell them about new products as well as answer questions that lead to conversions. But what should you do when something goes wrong?
In our 10 years of car dealer marketing, we’ve helped dealerships big and small to build their social media presence. We’ve helped them build an audience, build trust, increase traffic to their website from social channels and ultimately increase leads. We’ve even on occasion sold cars solely through social media.
We’ve also been there for dealers when things go wrong. Whether it’s an issue with the manufacturer themselves or even a small misunderstanding, so many dealerships get it wrong when handling negative comments that could otherwise be solved quickly and often result in a happy customer at the end of it.
The expected response time on social media is 10 minutes. That’s the reality of social media being like a large conversation; a customer asking a question expects an answer fast. It can sometimes be tricky to respond quickly, but always try your absolute best.
Remember not to be too hasty; first of all you simply need to acknowledge that you have seen the comment and that you are looking into it or will be in contact. This stops the customer from potentially coming back again complaining that they weren’t heard, which may cause them to shout louder.
Take it offline
Any detail of the problem needs to be dealt with offline. You don’t want to start an online narrative that other customers can then join in on. Instead, find the customer on your CRM and give them a call. This is usually the quickest way to resolve any issue.
Be sure never to ask for contact details or any other personal details on social media. Most customers wouldn’t give this information anyway, but some who may not realise the implications of sharing personal information on social media could be at risk.
Have a procedure in place
Make sure there is some kind of procedure for handling negative comments. Perhaps a central email address that heads of business all receive, or a designated person in the marketing team that investigates the issue and contacts whoever necessary.
The last thing you want is to be spending time running around asking who dealt with the customer and trying to find additional info.
Know when not to respond
Occasionally, some customers go the extra mile to be heard. Sometimes it’s not even your fault but the customer isn’t happy with the outcome. If a customer creates an account promoting an issue or comes back repeatedly in quick succession, either offensively or otherwise in a behaviour you wouldn’t accept in your showroom, don’t respond.
Instead, take it offline and call them without a social response. If this keeps going for a long period of time, know when to block that user.
Keep it light and friendly
Try not to be too formal; equally, don’t be too informal. Strike a balance with your tone of voice but always apologise. It may not even be your fault but rather a problem with a manufacturer or third party, yet the customer has chosen to come to you with the issue, hoping that you will be the one to solve it.
Always start your first reply with an apology and reassure them you can help. This can instantly calm any potential negative situations before you then take it offline. If all works out on the phone call, usually the customer will then respond again, this time with a compliment on what good service you provided!
Overall: Do it the right way
Always try to check in on your social channels a few times a day even if you haven’t received any alerts, just to make sure. Ideally, have notifications set up on your phone so you can always jump into any negative (or positive!) comments quickly. And remember; it’s social media and users are hidden behind their profile. They sometimes say things they wouldn’t normally say to another human in person, and they may treat your profile as a brand and not as a person behind the profile managing it. Don’t take it personally; simply respond in the right way and turn a negative experience into a positive one!