8 Tips for Bringing Humor into Negative Customer Review Responses to Protect Brand Reputation

No matter how great customer service is sometimes, there are those customers that just cannot be pleased no matter what you do. Sometimes they can get nasty with comments on social media or leave hateful public reviews. In some cases, their anger is simply due to them not reading content in its entirety, or finding out they were wrong.

One of the best ways to combat these situations is by injecting a little humor into interactions with these consumers – not to make fun of them, but to show that your brand has a sense of humor and wants to maintain its good reputation.

Need for Individual Attention

Some customers will act out in a social setting merely for individual attention. In some instances, a consumer will see a negative news story locally and then take to Facebook and other social media outlets to unleash their unrelenting thoughts to a business because the consumer wants a reaction. When this happens, respond to the consumer but do so professionally.

Choose whether or not to inject a bit of humor into your response. Something as simple as a carefully worded correction and a smiley face emoji is a good approach.

Generates Approachability

Having a little fun, like the brand Dominos is known for, is okay in some cases. It tells consumers that you are approachable and that your brand wants to be approached. Many brands use humor to reply to comments bashing the brand or its products to display that they are friendly people.

Transparency Helps

A bit of online transparency shows that a brand has confidence. It also shows approachability and a will to increase positive consumer experiences. When consumers can see a brand interacting with other consumers online, it helps a brand’s reputation. Humor in transparency sparks a buzz about the brand which can lead to an influx of sales. A good approach is responding about businesses getting behind schedule from time-to-time or striving for perfection but mishaps do happen.

Increase Media Coverage

Stories going viral with videos of customer service experiences and long negative reviews often gain media coverage. This puts a brand in a spotlight. Although the negative reason why the brand is in the spotlight may draw some immediate negative commentary, loyal customers will defend the brand. This is a good time for a brand to interact with consumers with a little humor (when appropriate) to share in the agreement of those defending the brand.

Do Not Insult Customers

Bullying and insulting a consumer that leaves a hateful review only fuels the fire. It can do more damage and permanently bruise a brand’s reputation. Rather than heckling consumers and fueling the argument, respond with a little bit of humor in the right situation. Something as simple as ending a corrective-type response with an appropriate emoji or emoticon lightens the general theme of your wording. Society knows to take item with endings such as “LOL”, an emoji or a thumbs-up are light-hearted in tone.

Respond as Quickly as Possible

Consumers are not so patient when it comes to receiving a reaction to poor commentary. It is a good idea to handle negative reviews within a 48-hour period of time. About 86-percent of unsatisfied consumers will return to a business if a suitable and quick response is offered. The way you respond makes all the difference. If the consumer is wrong, consider something like, “Hey, we think you should read over that article again. You might have missed a couple things. Have another look and let us know” with an emoji at the end might make that consumer laugh at themselves a bit.

Create a Response Plan

Creating a general response plan is a good way to protect a brand’s reputation and teaches customer service representatives how and when to react to reviews and online commentary. Statistics show that 97-percent of consumers think of reviews as being important. Some consumers will base their opinion of a brand solely on reviews. Construct a response plan that involves scenarios and real solutions for each type of scenario. This will help your staff use the right approach for each situation to prevent escalation.

Final Thoughts

It is impossible to keep 100-percent of your customers happy 100-percent of the time. It is impossible to control the way society perceives an advertisement, story or piece of content. The best thing that your brand can do to protect its reputation is to decide which way to approach responding. There will be instances where humor is okay to inject, and others where it must be completely avoided.

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