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Deleting Comments — Bad Move


I preach this over and over and over again -If your customers leave you a bad review or critical remark on any of your social media sites or even your company website, do NOT delete it.

Let me say that again.  Do NOT delete it.  The only thing you’re going to accomplish byKristen DAukas Twin City Sales and Marketing customer service deleting them is ticking them off even more.

The only time that you should ever delete a comment like that is if there is profanity or otherwise threatening behavior.  You are not invincible. You are going to make mistakes. Your employees are going to make mistakes. Get over it and deal with it. You cannot be on the front line 24/7 and if you are – chances are you’re making more mistakes than you realize.  Your customer is the one who is going to tell you when something is not right and you know what? You should thank them.

Yes, thank them.

When I was working and managing in F&B, I wasgrateful to the customer that took the time to let me know when we messed up. You know why? They were in the minority. The other 80% of customers just never came back. So, we never got the chance to make things right, prove we were worthy of their business and win them back.

Now that I am on the consulting side of the business, I see it all too often both as a consultant and as a consumer. It happened last night to one of my former clients. I still get the pings when someone comments on their Facebook page or mentions them on Twitter.  Their customer (who was an obvious frequenter) posted that if they weren’t going to accept a certain coupon, they should remove the advertisement from their establishment.  And the restaurant deleted his comment. And when he mentioned that them deleting the comment made him angry, they deleted that one, too.

Ouch.  Guess what – he’s not coming back. And he was right in his complaint. They shouldn’t advertise a special they’re not honoring.

So, how do you handle it?

First and foremost – acknowledge it. Let them and everyone else who’s watching (they are!) know that you are there to listen and help their issue. Then, you take it off line ASAP. Say something to the effect of “Joe Diner, we are sorry that you had an issue in our restaurant. Will you please email us at YourEmail@Company.com so we can get all the details of what happened?”. I recommend you have a “spare” email address set up just for these kind of instances. Then, from there – you solve their issue. Or maybe you don’t.. but either way you’re showing John Q. Public that you care what they have to say and are interested in doing something if they have a problem.

Have you seen really bad cases of this? I know I’ve seen plenty but always love a good war story especially if there’s a happy ending!

Good luck and good engaging!

Kristen
@KristenDaukas
@TwinCitySAM

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Comments

  • Thanks, Michael! In this world of instant notification, people have to be trained to deal with issues properly. Not only are you running the risk of losing that customer but now that customer has a megaphone to let the world know what you've done.  If people don't care about your establishment, they're not going to waste their time telling you about it... they just won't come back - ever. Of course there are exceptions, right? There's always the one who is just complaining to see what they can get for free.. habitual complainers need to be politely shown to the door.
  • Kristen I really loved this post so I had to sign up for FohBoh so I could submit this comment. You are so right that deleting the comments is a bad move. A bad comment can actually be an opportunity to showcase to people how well you handle problems. Instead of deleting the comment, as you said thank the person for their comments and see if there is something that you can do to fix the cause of the complaint and post that as well.  This shows customers that you are listening and willing to do what it takes to keep them happy. Take the lemons and make margaritas.
  • Thanks Jill & FohBoh for reading and commenting! I am amazed at the number of places that do this with no concern how quickly word spreads now!
  • Totally agree!  People that take the time to comment want to be heard.  I can't think of anything that would anger them more than being deleted instead of addressed.  If you're not going to listen, it would be naive to think they won't find a whole bunch of others that will listen.
  • We couldn't agree more! Great post
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