The Playbook
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Don't Delete Negative Comments. Say "I'm Sorry"

Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, explains how to best handle customer complaints made public on social media.
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Video Transcript

00:13 Dave Kerpen: A lot of businesses are concerned about negative feedback that they get on Facebook and Twitter and other social media. The temptation often exists to even delete that feedback. But if you delete the feedback, that's a response that's saying, "I don't care about my customers." and you're inviting them to go off somewhere else and complain even louder. So, the solution, instead, is to post publicly saying that you're gonna deal with the issue privately. That way you deescalate the situation from the public landscape, but you solve the problem, and more important, you tell the world that you are the kind of company that cares about its customers. Let's take a look at a couple of examples.

00:56 Kerpen: As you can see from Chobani here, somebody posts, "I've been to three different stores tonight trying to get passion fruit. Can you please put more on the shelves than one bin? I think everyones loves this flavor the most. Thanks so much. Going back tomorrow. Was told the truck was coming. Thanks." And Chobani responds right away with the two most important words in social media, "I'm sorry. Hey, there, Cindy, sorry to hear your beloved passion fruit is missing. Due to so much love for this flavor, it's sadly in short supply. Have no fear, we're working 24/7 to get it back in stores. Keep your eyes peeled."

01:30 Kerpen: One of my favorite examples comes from the Verizon Facebook page where Ray Umstof Einhoff basically posts, "Hey, Verizon, why won't you give me my money back? The problem is never fixed. You guys suck and a lawsuit may be in your near future. Have a great day, you bunch of crooks." Well, Verizon responded saying, the most important words in social media, "I'm sorry" and then "We've sent you a private message to help fix the problem." And just a few days later, Ray posted on the same Facebook page, "Thank you. And for the record, I love the FiOS service. The extreme Internet package makes me jump up and down. Thank you, Verizon FiOS. No more crook cast for us."

02:10 Kerpen: So, the lesson learned here is no matter how negative those posts are, instead of deleting them, if you embrace them, if you say I'm sorry and if you fix the problem, you can turn a huge negative into a real positive for your brand.

Last updated: Nov 27, 2012

DAVE KERPEN | Columnist | CEO, Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the co-founder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times best-selling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Want to learn about how to grow your business using social media in two minutes? Click here.

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