Social media, which originally began as picture posting, status updating and video sharing, has now also developed into a place where your customers can search for and/or give their own feedback. Although certain comments can be positive and can help build a strong brand image, there will likely be situations that lead to negative comments popping up on Facebook, Google reviews, or any other platform your dealership may be using. So what should you do to keep these comments under control?

Here are three basic tips for handling negative comments on social media:

1. Tackle it Head on

When a negative comment is left on your page your first instinct would most likely be to hide it or delete it because why would you want anyone else to see it, right? Wrong! It is completely normal to have a certain number of negative comments on social media, especially since customers are free to express their experiences and opinions. Deleting messages or comments to try and create a clean and positive page only leads to suspicion because well, no one is perfect! A customer who is visiting your page and looking for feedback or to make a purchase decision is more likely to trust your dealership if they see negative comments (as long as they have been dealt with and have been acknowledged) rather than a picture perfect page! Customers want to know that if there are situations that arise, and of course there will be whether you want them to or not, that your dealership will take the appropriate action.

2. Respond in a Timely Manner

So you know that you need to reply to the negative comments but does it matter how soon? Yes, it definitely does! When a consumer leaves negative feedback, whether it is about the service they received in your dealership or the paint chipping off their new vehicle, they are expecting a quick response, just like any other type of comment left via social media. Avoid leaving a negative comment unanswered for more than 12 hours and when possible it should be handled within a few hours. It is important to continuously monitor your social media pages for incoming comments in order to act as soon as possible and to ensure that your customers know their concerns are being handled, avoiding any further frustration. By acting quickly the chances of any snowballing – additional comments, shares, etc., are lowered and the situation remains easier to manage.

3. Take Emotions into Consideration

The final tip you want to keep in mind is the emotions of your consumers. A negative comment is more often than not associated with negative emotions, whether it is anger, frustration, or disappointment, and your reply needs to take this into consideration to avoid further upsetting your customer. It is important to remember that responding via a written message opens the door for misinterpretation and that means using emoticons, exclamation points or showing a lack of concern is highly discouraged!

It’s all about making the best out of a negative situation! ;)

Remember that this is your dealership’s reputation on the line and when you find negative comments the only way to protect your image is to handle the negative with a positive mindset and be sure that your current and future customers know customer service is your number one priority.

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