With the recent Pricechopper Twitter backlash incident, I figured it would be a good time to go over an important rule for responding to a negative Tweet about your company or product - think before you tweet! The last thing you want to do is escalate a bad customer experience by reacting negatively to a comment critical about your company.
More often than not, a person criticizing your brand on Twitter is venting. They don't think you are listening, or care. Respond positively by asking for more information about the incident. This shows them that you care and truly want to do something about it. You may even offer them a token product discount for their troubles. (Please note that if you offer a discount, do it via Direct Message. You don't want the Twitterverse thinking that criticizing you wins them a prize.)
Don't be afraid to respond positively to your critics. From what I have seen over time, if a brand responds to a negative tweet with a pleasant and helpful retort, they generally invoke one of the following three responses:
- The customer will be pleasantly surprised that you were at least listening and will back down from their original comments and possibly concede that the experience wasn't really that bad and they were just venting.
- The customer will be shocked that you responded and will run and hide and hope that no one else saw that you responded to their venting.
- The customer will be happy you were listening and will be thrilled to play a role in improving their customer experience with you.
Of course, if they continue to act negatively, apologize for their trouble and move on. Do not allow yourself to get on the defensive and start debating a customer.
Essentially, you should think of each tweet about your brand, negative or positive, as though it was a person at your customer service desk. Treat them online as you would face-to-face and you'll enhance customer loyalty significantly.