Facebook is the most visited website in the world, with 699 million daily active social media users. We’ll let that sink in–more people search Facebook than they do Google. This is both good news and bad news for company pages indexed across all industries.

If a customer gives you a positive review on a public Facebook page, it’s easily read by others searching for similar information. However, a bad review is just as accessible. And since there is almost no character limit on Facebook and it’s standard to post a picture with your comment, a bad review can turn into a striking rant against your business.

About 78% of these daily active users access Facebook via mobile devices, so they can see what people say about your business on Facebook, good or bad, no matter where they are. How do you ensure that a bad review on your Company’s Timeline still looks good for your business? With the proper Facebook apology strategy and social media monitoring.

Negative Facebook Comment

No matter the social network, authenticity is the golden rule when apologizing for a bad customer experience. Engaging with negative reviews is vital and with 35 million daily Facebook posts and updates, it is important to apologize and engage quickly. This is where social media monitoring comes in. Constantly monitoring for negative reviews, and, yes, this includes the weekends, is crucial for customer experience and online reputation management. Now your business can respond to all negative comments or questions posted to your public page. Inactivity gives the impression that your business doesn’t care about delivering outstanding customer service. With social media monitoring, this perception can be avoided while your brand image thrives.

Even though negative reviews seem like they’ll damage your brand, it can do more damage to delete these posts from your Facebook Timeline. A Facebook page with only positive comments looks unrealistic and you run the risk of further angering an already disgruntled fan if you remove their post before you’ve properly engaged. Instead, keeping negative customer comments online gives you an amazing PR opportunity. In fact, about two thirds of newBrandAnalytics’ customers agree that deleting negative reviews is a bad move. When you reach out directly on Facebook it shows other customers and potential customers that you care, which makes them more likely to buy from you in the future. Additionally, 34% of customers delete their negative review after the company reaches out to them or often they will write a revised, positive post remarking on your great customer service. Sounds like a win to us!

Your Facebook page has an established persona so any apology you offer must match your brand voice. When the tone of the apology doesn’t match the rest of your news feed content, it immediately sounds cookie-cutter. For example, see if you can pick out the one that’s not like the other:

Check out this great picture of our fans! They love staying at our property and we love them. Thanks for coming by guys, hope to see you again soon. #awesome

We are sorry to hear about your negative experience at our establishment. Contact us at your earliest convenience and we will resolve it for next time. Let us know how we can help. 

The second response has several problems. It does not sound like it came from a real person and there is no authenticity. Not only is this apology rehearsed but it also doesn’t offer a resolution, which all Facebook apologies need to offer. If a resolution cannot be mentioned, it is crucial, instead, to give the customer a promise for resolution. Alternatively, try something like this:

We are so sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy your stay with us last week. It sounds like it was a very frustrating experience. We’d like to do whatever we can to turn you back into a happy customer. We’ll reach out to you shortly so we can exchange contact information to work through this problem together.

After publicly promising a resolution for the problem, reach out to the customer via a private Facebook message. This message should include a phone number or email address where they can contact the person in charge of resolving their issue. With this method you publicly demonstrate that you care about customer service while taking the next step to actually solve the issue and create a happy, loyal customer.

After your company has found a satisfactory resolution for the customer, a great best practice is to write a post on your Facebook wall thanking them for their input and tag their name in the status. This action shows that you appreciate customer input, something that matters to consumers across all industries. Also this softer style gives the previously disgruntled customer an opportunity to brag on you to the Facebook universe, as well as share your well-crafted response easily on their page.

To learn more about diffusing the situation surrounding negative reviews on social media download our free eBook here.