How This Facebook Feature Could Negatively Impact Your PR
Facebook recently made MAJOR updates to their Page messaging platform. Facebook hopes to encourage more communication between Page Admins and Fans with these latest updates. Be warned, one of these features could actually do more harm than good. The update is the ability to reply to comments privately with a message.
Translation: If a Fan writes on your page, Page Admins now have a choice to reply back with a public comment or send a private message in response (new feature).
Previously when Fans left negative comments on a business page, the Page Admin would need to publicly respond and encourage the Fan to take the conversation “offline”.
I would always tell my clients, “Never delete the comment. Apologize immediately and then encourage the Fan to send you their contact information to handle the issue in a private forum”. The most important part of this sentence is “apologize immediately”. This new feature has the ability to take that important step away.
How this could hurt your business or brand’s Public Relations (PR)
When someone complains on your Page it isn’t just their eyes that see it. MOST of your Fans see it as well. If it is a heated discussion, the Fan’s friends and other Facebook Users could stumble upon this conversation too. By taking it immediately offline without apologizing, you are making it a private matter and isolating the rest of your audience from the conversation and resolution.
Follow these steps to resolve the issue, engage with all your Fans and let your customer service and PR shine.
Solution to this new feature
- Immediately apologize publicly with a comment that was left by the Fan. i.e. “Jane Doe we apologize for the issue you had with XYZ. Our Customer Service Rep will reply shortly with a message to help resolve this for you.”
- Send a private message, in response to the comment and apologize again. In this message, encourage a one-on-one conversation to take place. I would suggest a personal phone call to immediately alleviate the issue. i.e. “Jane Doe we are so sorry that you had this issue with our product/service. Is there a phone number or email we can reach you at to resolve this for you?”
- Reply with a comment to the conversation providing further resources to the rest of your Fans. This could be a link to the website, FAQ page or simply providing your customer service phone number or email, to let others know you are there to offer help. i.e. “At ‘insert your company/brand name’ we value our customers. If you have a similar issue or want to learn more about XYZ visit our FAQ page.” OR “At ‘insert your company/brand name’ we value our customers. If you have a similar issue, contact us at ‘include info’ and we will help resolve the issue for you.
Facebook does state on their website, “When a business responds privately to a comment, the comment shows a note that the business responded privately, so other Page visitors know that the business handled the request.” That isn’t enough. Let your business, customer service and public relations shine bright by using this method and engaging with all your Fans.
To learn more about additional Facebook messaging features, visit the Facebook news release on their website.