How you respond on social can turn sentiment around


The post on the business’s Facebook page was direct.

“I hate you.”

Imagine you are the owner or the firm's social media manager. Do you shrug it off as a “Can’t please them all moment”? Ignore it? Would you fear that engaging with the person posting will set off a flame war on your page?

It’s imperative to have a strategy and policy on moderating and responding in social media. In fact, you should know how you’ll respond before making your first social post.

In this case, the business did have a response and moderation policy. The first step was to acknowledge the post: “We’re sorry you’re not having the best experience with us, Ellen.”

The next step, in the same reply, was a bid to move the conversation from public view to private channels. “If you would like us to follow up, please send us a private message with your contact information.”

Ellen did just that. Her tone was more worried than angry. She believed equipment the company placed on her air conditioner to limit usage (and save on her monthly bill) had kicked in. She had a newborn child, and both she and the baby were miserable in the midsummer heat.

The social media manager (SMM) sensed something was wrong. Even though it was hot outside, there was not a call to cycle residential air conditioning.

The company’s standard process was to forward the message to the right business unit, which would follow up within 24 hours. Waiting a day to tell Ellen that the problem was on her end didn’t sit well with anyone.

The SMM called a supervisor, and a technician was dispatched to Ellen’s home within an hour. An inspection revealed the problem was a malfunctioning air conditioning unit. She called an HVAC professional to repair the A/C, and Ellen and her young family were comfortable once again. It was less than 24 hours after she made that “I hate you” post.

Beyond that, she returned to her original Facebook post to add: “Thank you for listening and helping our family. We won’t forget it.”

Not all social media interactions end this well for brands. But this story does illustrate that responding promptly and with a service mentality can turn “I hate you” into “Thank you.”

Let us at The Creative Company help find the best ways to connect with your customers and get to those “thank you” moments.


Chris DuPre
Public Relations Director