Original article by Peggy Jo Donahue
Commentary by Lisa Kan in RED is meant to be humorous. If you are a customer of mine and one of my Facebook "friends" DO NOT take any of what I have typed personally.
Let's continue forward to the sage advice from MJSA industry leaders. (MJSA = Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America.)
Many Facebook novices worry about negative comments marring their social networking pages. But experienced networkers in the industry say nearly every online personality or brand has endured negative comments-and lived to see another day. The ones who have handled it well have even won praise.
You can please some of the people, some of the time, but you can't please all of the people, all of the time. If you get stuck on some negative person's comments to bring you down, get under your skin or ruin your day then they'll just keep on doing it. The better way is to stay positive and get rid of anyone who gets in your way. Remember sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will NEVER hurt you. So hurl around some "sticks and stones" and maybe they will hit the perpetrator.
"I welcome it as an opportunity," says Daniel Gordon of Samuel Gordon Jewelers in Oklahoma City. "In the past, people who were unhappy would go away without saying anything-and never come back. At least now I find out and can do something about it." The key is handling it constructively.
Is Daniel Gordon for REAL??? How would any one welcome a negative comment as "an opportunity". I think most people these days WILL tell you they are unhappy with you on Facebook by either saying it on your page or just canceling out on the "friend"ship. The key is to be on top of things and continuously monitor your Facebook page. Make sure everyone behaves and ONLY say nice things about you. Fortunately for me, no one has been rude enough to tell me they are unhappy with me "yet". But then again, you wouldn't know if they have... (wink)
If you get a negative comment from a customer, follow these guidelines for responding:
• Think before you act. It’s hard to react positively when your company has endured what might be an unfair attack. "First, take a minute before you react, so that you can craft a positive response," advises Ann Arnold of Lieberfarb, a manufacturer of bridal and anniversary rings who is active on social networks.
I would just get rid of the person and disconnect them from your Facebook page. I thought about it for one second too long and they are GONE. There's the big "X" to cancel them out of our relationship. Who needs negativity in your life? Read my Happiness post from March 3, 2010 Get RID OF THEM! ;o)
• Let your fans come to your defense. Waiting a bit before responding has a second purpose. Fans may quickly come to your defense-before you even need to say a word. It’s one of the reasons that Veronica Wei Sopher of Ben Bridge in Seattle takes the time to create a give-and-take bond with her connections in social networks-even on non-jewelry issues. "Sometimes a co-worker will ask, ’did you really need to ask that customer about her headache on Twitter?’ The magic of all that is realized when a negative voice shows up," says Sopher. "If I’ve done my job well, the strong and supportive community around the Ben Bridge brand will speak up and drown out the negativity."
Waiting will allow more people to see the negative comments, Veronica!!! By deleting the comment immediately, you can avoid having to explain the situation to the rest of your Facebook friends or fans. The key word is the Fans "may" quickly come to your defense. I'd like to bet on a sure thing. I'd like to know the negative person is gone before anyone else gets hurt. Besides what if you don't have a "Fan" page. Now why would a "Fan" provide negative input anyhow? You would not be a "Fan" or a "Friend" of someone or company on Facebook if you felt negatively towards them right? UNLESS... this negative person is just trying to infiltrate into your positive energy.
This is the reason why it is safer to have a regular Facebook account. Yes, Fan or "Like" pages as Facebook calls them now, allows you to have endless contacts but it also allows free reign for anyone to join thus later say absolutely anything on your page. With a personal account, you can "accept" whom you want and "ignore" whom you don't. There is a lot of maintenance involved but there is something I like about having control over MY own Facebook page. So I would NEVER wait. I would instead handle this the Lisa Way!!
• Apologize publicly. When you’ve given it a little time and thought, there’s a way to respond, say experts. A quick "so sorry you had a bad experience," is the first step. Then, get it offline quickly, says Sopher. "Ask: ’Can I communicate with you directly, so that we can discuss all of your purchase details?’"
There must be something wrong if a customer, who is a "Fan", is contacting you to resolve an issue on Facebook and YOU have to APOLOGIZE publicly. By the time it reaches Facebook, you already have not done your job. Why are you in business anyways? Why wouldn't you communicate on the phone or email before the situation escalated to this point? I think if it does reach this level of negativity then the customer just wants to send bad vibes on your "Fan" page. I for one would not stand for this type of retaliatory behavior. What happened to "forget and forgive"?
Another reason why you should not have a Fan page. A regular account will allow you to have up to 5000 friends. Unless you are a big humongous company, do you really need to have a news feed of more than 5000 people typing to you? How could you address the needs of 5000 people effectively? You would need to be on Facebook 24/7 monitoring each of their behaviors. Also, NO ONE needs to see how you handle these sensitive situations in a public forum. What I would do is to send a private email to the customer and then delete their public comment. That is what Lisa would do. And she would do it IMMEDIATELY before any other evidence is left. (wink)
• Don’t hit "delete." Though there’s a temptation to erase the offending remarks, it’s the worst thing a business can do. "A personal attack or one that’s vulgar, absolutely, you can get rid of, but otherwise, it’s better to engage publicly with a response," says Carrie Soucy of Miamore Communications in Providence. Companies that delete all negative remarks risk being branded as inauthentic and controlling, two qualities least likely to win you more fans. Worse, the complaining customer could spread the news throughout his network that you ignored or silenced him. Nothing makes social networkers angrier.
I'm not too sure about not hitting "delete". I think the complaining customer who is acting as a "Fan" coming to a business page to complain is up to NO good. Why should this person hold all the cards? There are moderated newsgroups and chat forums, why can't a Facebook page be moderated too. What's controlling about this behavior in wanting to maintain proper decorum by deleting improper posts? And what constitutes as an "improper post" is determined by ME!!! I'm in control here, right? If a customer is complaining this incessantly to have their negative comments reach Facebook, then maybe you should be OUT of BUSINESS!!! I think anyone taking bad experiences to a Facebook page is going too far and they should be canceled out of the relationship. They are not a "friend" or a "fan". These instances should be handled with gloves.... (not kid gloves)... but gloves as in "I'll meet you in a boxing ring" type of gloves. Challenge the complaining customer to take care of this like a man.
(Uhmm... but I'm a lady!! Maybe this won't work in my case. Nevermind.)
These are some tips from jewelry industry leaders on Facebook etiquette. You can take their advice or mine. It's your choice.
But... IF you do it MY way, the Lisa Way...
tell me the story later and we'll both have a good chuckle.
If you want to setup a "Fan" or "Like" page as it is known on Facebook these days, here's another article you may want to read up on from the experts. The info may be a bit outdated since Facebook just changed a bunch of settings June 1, 2010!!:
but if not...
then at least you had a good laugh
The Night Owl