If you receive a negative comment from a customer/client do not ignore it. This will just give them another reason to be angry at your brand. Replying to ALL comments regardless of their sentiment should be practiced as it shows brand initiative and creates a better relationship between you and your audience. Monitoring comments and messages can be made easier by using tools such as Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and AgoraPulse as it combines all messages from all channels into one, easy-to-access place.
There can be exceptions to this rule. If a customer continues to spam your dental practice’s pages with negative comments, then it is acceptable to block them and delete/hide their messages. This is the only course of action if you have already tried to resolve the issue without success.
Whether you agree or disagree with the statement ‘the customer is always right’, it goes a long way in social media space. Even if you do not think that the customer IS right, you should always respond with an apology as it shows the angry dental customer that your practice is taking the responsibility.
Most users across all social media channels expect a rapid response, usually within two hours. Timeliness is key with negative comments. If you reply in a timely manner, then it shows to the customer that you care and want to get the issue fixed as soon as possible.
Of course, it can be difficult to stay on top of comments, so if you respond after two hours then do not panic. Reply as soon as you possibly can.
It can be hard to stay level-headed when responding to negative sentiment, especially if the reason for the complaint is not justified. Keep calm as it’s extremely important to respond in a polite manner and if the customer uses swear words do not get drawn into responding in the same manner. Remember on social media all your dental customers and potential prospects will have access to this, and even the happy ones may be swayed on their opinion of the dental practice – so keep it professional and on an even keel.
It is not advisable to jump in and offer a promise/offer just to appease the customer and then later not fulfilling this. First, make clear of the complaint and then explain to the customer how you plan on fixing the issue. If a customer of your dentist complains about something, do not rush to offer a discount etc, get them to reach out to you to find out who is wrong and what can be done to resolve this.
If you find yourself dealing with a negative comment, be sure to move the conversation to another place which is out of the spotlight where you can handle the issue personally. You can do this by asking them to reach out by email, direct message, or they can even phone the practice.
Simply add a reply to the comment saying along the lines of, ‘Hi [name], we’re sorry to hear this. Please send us a private message and we can discuss more there.’
Creating a reply war in the comments can cause the angry customer to reply many times, creating more negative sentiment which your loyal customers will see.
Chatbots have a place and can be great to reply to general messages, but with complaints you need to make this as personal as possible. This will show that you care and genuinely want to help. Use the customers’ name in the message and come across as human as possible.
It is important to make sure you give a reason and explain what has happened to cause the customer to complain. If you fail to do this, the customer may get even more frustrated. As well as explaining what has happened, you should then go through with them on how you intend on resolving the situation in a clear and polite manner.
This will also give you a chance to explain if it was an issue that was beyond the fault of your dental practice. For example, if a customer books an appointment and for some reason you have to cancel but have sent them communication to tell them this, it’s not your fault if they turn up to this cancelled appointment.
Once the issue has been dealt with, it is important to document it by screenshotting the original comment. This can be done before resolution or after. By documenting it, will help you if the situation escalates to a larger issue and you need further proof. This is usually the case for larger brands, but even for a small business, it is good to have an audit trail.
Documenting complaints is good way of training other members of the team who will be responding to comments and can be a useful place to refer back to FAQ’s, so you know what to do in certain situations.
It is important to make sure you give a reason and explain what has happened to cause the customer to complain. If you fail to do this, they may get even more frustrated. As well as explaining what has happened, you should then go through with them the steps you intend to take on resolving the situation, in a clear and polite manner.
A lot of brands get so wrapped up with dealing with negative comments that they forget about the positive ones. Ensure that you’re responding to your ‘fans’ as positive comments are the best way of building your brand and engagement as it allows you to show gratitude towards those happy customers and is also seen as a third-party recommendation. You can do this by retweeting, messaging them directly, or replying to the comment – and always thank them for their support to show your appreciation of them taking the time to do this.