Haters and Hecklers: Responding to Negative Commentary on Social Media

May 2013
Photo Credit @hrackett

Remember Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show? They were the old guys who always had something negative to say about whatever was going on. As hilarious as they are as Muppets, real-life haters and hecklers can be difficult to deal with – especially on a forum as public as social media. Before typing out an angry retort to someone complaining about your restaurant’s lasagna or your law firm’s lack of style, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Courtesy and professionalism are key. How you would handle a difficult customer in person is how you should handle them on social media. In fact, since social media is out there for the whole world to see for all eternity, your response might even be of more importance. Be polite and professional – remember, you are responding as a representative of your company.  If you berate the customer or attempt to discount his opinion by attacking his character, your company looks unprofessional and immature. This breaks down company credibility and will likely have people avoiding your establishment.

Get the conversation out of the public eye. An angry customer (especially a “chronic complainer”) is not someone you want to correspond with in the public eye. Taking the conversation away from the public forum is going to be your first line of defense. This can be accomplished by publicly responding with something like, “We are very sorry that you had a negative experience. Please send us a private message with your contact information and we will have someone from our offices reach out to you regarding this situation.”

Follow-through shows you care. If the customer gives you their contact information, be sure to actually follow through and contact them. Again, be polite and professional while doing what you can to make them happy. Good customer service goes a long way. After you’ve fixed whatever they were unhappy with, you can even request that they let people know that their issue has been remedied.

By keeping this tips in mind, you will be able to handle your company’s hecklers in a way that even Statler and Waldorf would give two thumbs up.


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