There will be negative comments. Not necessarily someone out to get you (although that could happen) but maybe a customer who’s had an unsatisfactory experience with your business. Someone who’s not feeling all “puppies and rainbows” about you at the moment.
By creating social media channels, you are opening yourself up to these concerns. Remember, people had negative feelings before you had a Facebook page. You just didn’t hear about it. Now they have a forum to openly express their distaste with you.
But you have a chance to turn it around.
@briansolis states in Engage!,
Assuredly, every negative discussion is an opportunity to learn and also to participate in a way that may shift the discussion in a positive direction. If there’s nothing else that we accomplish by participating, we at least acquire the ability to contribute toward a positive public perception.
Think of it as an opportunity!
Some other points to think about if you encounter negative comments or any concerns:
Respond. Do your best to be understanding, and avoid being defensive. No matter how trivial or unfair you believe the claim to be, this customer needs your attention. If there’s no voice from the company, the conversation could spiral out of control.
Timeliness. There's no time to craft a one-page release to the media. Even a simple, “Thank you for your comment. Let me check on that for you.” can sometimes suffice until you rally the troops and come up with a response. Social media happens now.
Never, ever delete posts. (This of course excludes spam, profanity or highly-offensive comments.) Censoring your friends, fans, followers, etc. shows you don’t care what they have to say. Plus, they’ll catch on to what you’re doing. How would you feel if someone deleted your posts because they didn’t like what you had to say?
Turn the conversation around. Show your customers you care about their concerns, and figure out how you can help. If you can’t fix the problem, explain why. As Solis said, you can turn this into a positive experience if they see how much time and effort you put into helping.
Know what you’re getting into with social media. Customer service and reputation management are two of new media’s many opportunities.