Can a company fully manage a community?

Ratings & Comments - Community Management for the correct handling of feedback in the digital space

| Knowledge

Reviews, feedback and public comments: Companies invest a lot in getting honest and open reviews from their customers. After all, from a certain size onwards, the community also reflects a mercilessly clear opinion on a product or an institution. On the one hand, products and services can be perfectly adapted to the needs of the target group. On the other hand, these honest recommendations are also ideal for convincing other customers. But as always, there are two sides to the coin. What is the best way to react to bad reviews that suddenly appear publicly about you online? This is how you set up your community management so that, at best, you can also use negative things for yourself.

Since the social web at the latest, marketing is no longer just one-way communication. The users publicly praise, express their displeasure or recommend something to others. Most of us have already benefited from it; be it with a Google rating for a company, a restaurant review on Tripadvisor while on vacation or an online rating for a piece of clothing at our favorite mail order company.

Google ratings, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tripadvisor - all of these platforms are suitable, among other things, to enable people to come into direct contact with companies (and vice versa). And companies invest a lot of money with social media advertising, search engine advertising and other marketing measures so that customers can interact with them.

Community management - direct dialogue with the target group

That also makes sense. Because:Market research has never been easier, provided you look and listen to criticism from the online community - good or bad. With the feedback from the users, you can find out relatively cheaply what goes down well and what should be changed.

But what happens if there is no positive and benevolent comment and evaluation as desired? We have summarized 3 steps below on how to best deal with public ratings and criticism. But first two more preparations for community management and for your community manager, so that you have the reviews and comments under control.

  • Monitoring: Organize the necessary community management tools and mailboxes so that you don't miss out on customer feedback. Regular social media monitoring, at best several times a day, enables your community managers to react quickly.
  • Processes & responsibilities: Clarify right from the start how your community management is set up. Who is responsible for monitoring? How is the necessary information obtained? Who will write an answer? Who is posting? Also think about weekends and (company) holidays. The whole thing can be mapped internally or with external support.

Community management made easy in 3 steps

Negative criticism from dissatisfied customers? It doesn't matter: never delete (almost never)!

It annoys, disappoints and makes you really angry; you tear yourself up for the customer and still get a negative rating every now and then. Perhaps it was a one-off exception that led to the negative customer experience. Perhaps the comment is even fictitious, false, or extremely exaggerated. It doesn't matter - it stops and is answered!

A company presents itself to the public on these platforms and benefits from them. You have to endure a negative comment from time to time. And what if you can maybe even turn it into something positive? But more on that later.

We recommend that you only delete comments if they violate your netiquette or violate the law. This includes, for example, racist comments, threats, publication of personal data and the like.

  • tip: With an individual netiquette for your company, you can define the rules of the game for the comment and feedback columns. For example, note that you are deleting comments that are offensive or contain unnecessary strong expressions. You can always refer to this and keep the discussion “clean”.

It should also be mentioned here that one or the other negative comment or a bad rating is completely justified. Or even contain constructive criticism. Mistakes happen wherever people work. So why not deal with it in a professional and customer-friendly manner? Here, too, it is clear: The negative feedback remains, the answer (hopefully) brings a great customer experience, which speaks again for you and your company.

A successful community manager has an overview

Before you rush into excuses, excuses, or solutions, make sure that you fully understand the situation. Inquire - if necessary - where and when the negative experience took place (a bit easier to find out as pure e-commerce than if you have 30 locations), who was involved, etc. Stay friendly and express your regret for the experience. It is important that you can quickly grasp what you now have to organize. For example, does another department need to be informed? Do you have to get information? Does a replacement product need to be shipped? Then you can take all the necessary steps and keep track of things.

Be personal but professional

The right mix is ​​what counts when interacting with the virtual community!

  • Be personal: Do not use standard answers and prepared marketing texts, but go into the details of the comment and show genuine interest in finding a solution. This often leads to positive effects on the image of the company or the product. You may even be able to turn a negative comment into something positive.

    Incidentally, this also applies to good ratings and positive reviews: Here it is even easier to say thank you and express your joy in a few words.
  • Be professional: Despite everything, always be aware that you are commenting on behalf of a company. So always keep a professional distance and do not be discouraged by personal attacks or accusations - you must not take this personally. The professional handling of comments also includes drawing a line when it drifts into an infinite loop. If you - often in several comments and discussions - have explained the situation and suggested a solution and still haven't gotten a green light, then a conversation can sometimes be broken off. True to the motto: Don't feed the troll. Sometimes the digital counterpart is not looking for a solution or cannot be satisfied.

Google My Business, Instagram, Twitter and Co. - Take a close look; It is worth it!

That all sounds very laborious - sometimes it is. But if you act fairly as a company and with your products, then most reviews and ratings will be accordingly. In addition, a little experience and routine will make your community management more efficient very quickly. Use the negative comments to improve yourself, but also to convince customers of you by appearing helpful and understanding. Or if all else fails, with the professional handling of such critical comments you at least give a good image to the outside world, which in turn has a positive effect on the community.

In addition to customer satisfaction, make sure that you take up legitimate criticism and food for thought from the community and incorporate them into your organization and products. Communication with your community can not only bring awareness and trust, but also lead to an improved offer and thus more sales.

Finally, the following tip: Stay away from purchased fake reviews. Sooner or later this will catch up with you. Be authentic and seriously interested in your community, then enough real reviews speak for you and your company.