Article by: Ryan Thogmartin, CEO of DISRUPT Media
No one likes to receive negative comments from others, whether they are directed at you personally or at your business. It’s not easy to be confronted with reasons others may be less than perfectly satisfied with us or our labors.
For funeral home owners who are in the compassion business, negative reviews can be particularly troubling. You and your team do your best to comfort families during their times of their deepest pain and loss but, instead of gratitude, your efforts result in public expressions of dissatisfaction. And, because of modern technology, the advent of social media provides a big megaphone for these criticisms to go viral.
Since Facebook is the channel of choice right now in the funeral profession, I’ll focus on it in my comments below. But the suggestions I’ll offer can generally apply to any social media outlet. When considering the potential for negative reviews in Facebook, let me offer these bits of advice:
- First of all, if you serve the public you can’t please everyone all the time. It’s impossible. Human beings have expectations in every situation, and not every expectation held by every person can possibly be met 100% of the time. You know this, but it’s worth stating again. You will be criticized, so know it’s coming if it hasn’t already.
- When customers are unhappy, they will talk about it. They will tell their family, their friends, and even the general public if they are displeased enough. Where there is opportunity for communication of ANY kind, folks who are less than happy will talk about it. Expect it.
- So, believing you can short circuit publicly expressed criticism by avoiding participation in social media is naïve. Facebook does not make people suddenly critical. It just gives them another outlet…if they choose to use it. Many folks do not want a permanent, public record of their dissatisfaction to be available, so they will simply stew until they can verbalize it to someone. But other will vent their unhappiness for all to see through Facebook. Even so, don’t avoid having a presence on Facebook simply because you don’t like the potential of receiving negative comments.
- This is where the benefits of the public business review and comment options in Facebook are obvious. Now you can address, for all to see, the criticisms that may come your way. You can’t respond to criticism if it’s offered verbally away from your ears. But you can seek to resolve dissatisfaction publicly through the two-way communication opportunities in Facebook. And this can RAISE the positive opinions held by others if you do it thoughtfully and wisely.
Here are some suggested steps in addressing negative reviews and comments on Facebook:
- Acknowledge that you have seen their comment. By acknowledging, it can be just a simple, “I have received your feedback and understand your concern; we are looking into the matter right now.” If the unhappy customer sees that you have recognized their displeasure, you are at least 50% of the way toward a resolution.But this acknowledgement must be immediate. When dealing with negative comments, over two thirds of your consumers expect a reply on the same day, and 42 percent of your consumers expect you to reply within 60 minutes. If you let a bad review or comment sit for days without a response, it tells the unhappy customer (and other readers) that you don’t care.
- Apologize with sincerity, even if you don’t entirely agree with the reason for their displeasure. Somehow there has been a disconnect between their expectations and your service. Let your dissatisfied customer know, in a public reply, you are sorry this disconnect has occurred and that you intend to make it right.
- Finally, unless it’s a simple misunderstanding that can be rectified quickly in full view of the public, take it offline. Provide a telephone number or an email address where the unhappy customer can more fully express their concern, and where you can give them a fair hearing. Be ready to listen without angry defensiveness, and seek to make them as happy as you can, within reason. If you both are pleased with the outcome, you might even suggest they make another comment on your Facebook page where they thank you for a quick and satisfactory resolution.
The above strategy will go a long way in winning people to your brand. Everyone knows that it’s impossible to please 100% of your customers 100% of the time. But, while you may agree that this method makes good sense, you may be concerned that you have neither the time nor the resources to manage your Facebook page with the necessary vigilance. If this is true for you, you can turn to the experts at DISRUPT Media. Our exclusive four part FUNERAL Social Design Process includes constant real-time administration of your page. We monitor all activity, and we respond quickly, usually in 20 minutes or less. You can be assured that your brand reputation is maintained through our active management of your Facebook presence. Go to http://www.disruptmedia.co to find out more about the services we offer.
Ryan Thogmartin is a death care entrepreneur and the CEO of DISRUPT Media and creator of ConnectingDirectors.com. | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles
DISRUPT Media is a social media first marketing company that focuses on social storytelling for funeral companies. DISRUPT uses insights gained through analytics to build creative campaigns that achieve actual business goals.