Because of constant innovation and ever-growing importance of modern technologies, customers are getting vast amounts of relevant and useful information on travel and tourism companies, products and services. In particular, social media platforms have become one of the most popular and powerful tools among customers in sharing personal experiences, opinions and comments. Information created on the platforms, known as customer- or user-generated content, aims at educating and making known other customers with companies, products, services and issues.
Digital technologies have transformed communication in general. The traditional word-of-mouth notion has become digital. This is especially important for the travel and tourism industry because customers’ experiences and opinions influence it. As a travel and tourism professional, you should understand and know how to manage social media, especially how to manage negative comments. Here are seven steps in dealing with negative comments left on your social media platforms:
1. Read the posted comment.
Read the comment carefully and try to understand the root of the negative reaction. Why is a customer dissatisfied? What triggered him or her to post a negative comment? Imagine yourself in the customer’s shoes and think of a suggestion you would like to receive if you were that person. For instance, if a customer feels disappointed about the services of your hotel or your car rental service, talk to your team about the issue, and take it as a chance to improve you service.
2. Take a screenshot.
It's a good idea to document a received comment. Share it with your colleagues, discuss the issue and follow-up. You never know when it might become useful.
3. Do not delete it.
You should always remain transparent with your audience. Customers have the right to know opinions of others because social media is a place for the community discussions, exchange of information and opinions. By deleting the comments, the customers might think that you are hiding something, and this does not add any credibility to your company, products or services. If comments are inappropriate or derogatory, you should delete them.
4. Do not delay an instant.
Time is important since customers expect to receive an answer within one hour. Social media has given us the opportunity to communicate instantly and you should always keep this idea in mind. In cases when you need a more detailed or expert information for a suitable and satisfactory response, follow up with a proper department.
5. Draft a polite response.
Politeness is the key in developing and keeping good relations. You should apply the same principle when drafting your response to a negative comment. Replying to an unfavorable comment in a rude way is not a wise solution. Keep in mind that not only the customer you are communicating with will read your response, but also other customers who are following you.
6. Send your response.
Penultimate action is to post your response. In your answer try to confess the committed mistake and apologize for it. We thaw when we receive a frank admission of error and an apology, especially from our family and friends. Thus, treat the customer in a personal way and offer him or her a solution. In this way, you can turn a discontented customer into an avid follower and an supporter.
7. Monitor your social media platforms.
After you have dealt with a negative comment and addressed the customer’s issue, you should continue to monitor your social media platforms and track everything happening in your digital space. This is a part of an excellent customer service.
Many travel and tourism providers recognize the importance of social media for their companies and are actively engaging with customers through social media platforms. In turn, customers share their experiences, exchange opinions and comment about companies, products or services. While positive comments create a favorable company’s image, negative comments can damage its reputation. With seven steps in managing negative comments on social media platforms, you can mitigate or prevent a possible conflict, and turn a dissatisfied customer into a devoted supporter.
Article written by Liudmila Kazak,
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