What should you do if your company receives negative feedback online? How you handle complaints is increasingly important with consumers more and more likely to look at online feedback to inform purchasing decisions. When tackling this task you might want to take your cue from digital fashion retailer ASOS. This is because they gave a masterclass in handling negative feedback online.

Negative Feedback Online

A recently released infographic reveals that social media platforms are critical online marketing channels for small businesses. For instance, every UK-based small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) surveyed for the study said that they use at least one social media channel to communicate with consumers. Almost a third (29%) of those questioned admitted that they now use more than three social media sites to promote their companies and engage new customers.

Informing purchasing decisions

Businesses are rushing to engage consumers on social media. This is because their consumers are now using these sites to determine whether to buy products and services. A recent study from the Content Marketing Institute illustrated that 62% of British consumers turn to social media for advice before making purchasing decisions, up from just 17% in 2014. Therefore, it is vital that your target consumers see positive content surrounding your brand on social media.

Consumer feedback

With smartphones, it is now easier than ever for consumers to provide companies with feedback via social media. This is because they can access social media from anywhere, at anytime. It is essential that when you receive negative feedback, you do not shy away from it. Statistics quoted by Our Social Media Times suggest that 70% consumers want a response, while only 38% actually get one.

Failing to respond could incentivise this consumer to post more negative content on your social media. Potentially tainting your social media appearance further, damaging your reputation online even more. Furthermore many consumers expect a speedy answer.

According to Brandwatch, 78% of people who complain to a brand on Twitter expect a response within the hour. When you get negative feedback on social media you need to respond quickly and you better make it good. Hopefully, this will at least limit the damage to your reputation and possibly even prevent future damage.

ASOS masterclass

We should note that if you find a clever, funny way to respond to negative feedback on social media, you could even turn the customer’s complaint into an online marketing opportunity. This is exactly what ASOS did recently when they received a complaint on Facebook.

In July 2016, Jay Whalley from Preston sent an FCUK blazer back to ASOS, only to hear nothing from the brand. Hoping to get ASOS’ attention, Whalley posted a complaint which was inspired by Eminem and Dido’s classic hit ‘Stan’ on the company’s Facebook wall. This incredibly creative message included lyrics such as “I sent you my exchange but it still ain’t returning”

It also included lines such as “I had a friend who went Topman because he thought ASOS didn’t want him/I know you probably hear this everyday, but I’m your biggest fan” and “Anyways, I hope you get this man, hit me back/Just to chat, truly yours, your biggest fan/This is Jay.” With this message, Whalley was very clear – he had a problem, he hoped ASOS could help him because he did not want to go anywhere else and he expected a response. He certainly got one!

Rianna, a member of ASOS’ ‘Here to Help’ team, sent a similarly Stan-inspired message back. The response included lines such as “Soz to hear you haven’t received your return/Hope it’s not giving you heartburn” and “If you pop us a PM [private message]/We’ll get to the bottom of this mayhem.” Rianna followed this up with “We’ll get this sorted, no stress. Bless,” before closing with “Look forward to hearing from you soon Jay/You’ll always be our number 1 Bae/Peace out, ASOS Rianna.”

Perfect response

This was the perfect response. In the message, Rianna not only managed to move the customer away from ASOS’ public Facebook page, she also showed him that the brand cares about him and his business. Thus assuring Whalley that his problem would be sorted as soon as possible. By mirroring Whalley’s use of the Eminem song Stan, Rianna ensured that content showing ASOS in a positive light would go viral, drawing more consumers to its digital assets.

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