Social media can be a two-edged sword. It helps you to connect with your community, and most of the time, that connection brings positive results. However, the other side of social media is that people who aren’t happy with your service can air their complaints. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you can be certain that it will sometime. Knowing how to handle negative comments on social media will let you turn a problem into an opportunity.
But, It Wasn’t My Fault!
Many things can happen during a real estate transaction that won’t excite your client, whether they’re buying or selling. Some of those problems you can fix and some you can’t. You know that as a real estate agent, but very often, your client doesn’t.
In addition, you don’t need to do something wrong to get the blame. Real estate transactions can be emotionally charged, and it’s easy for a client to put all the blame on you when something goes wrong. Realistically, you couldn’t possibly have known that the qualified buyer’s financing would fall through, or that the seller would decide to take all the light fixtures at the last minute.
When you see negative comments on social media, start by not taking it personally. In fact, even if it was your fault, you’ll handle the situation the same way.
Take It Seriously and Remain Calm
It’s never a good idea to assume that if you ignore negative comments on social media they will go away. Or to convince yourself that no one will see that one-star rating on Google with a long tirade about all the things that went wrong with a transaction. People will see it and it will have an impact on your reputation. Take the complaint seriously as an opportunity to illustrate your commitment to customer service and professionalism.
Keep in mind that it’s difficult to be professional if you’re engaging in a shouting match online. Even if the client making the comment was impossible to work with and got right on your last nerve, don’t engage. If you need to, take some time to regain perspective before you respond.
Offer a Solution and Take the Discussion Offline
You can’t undo what’s been done. You’re in a different position than a retailer, for example, who could refund a customer’s money. However, you can reach out to make your client feel that you made the situation right.
Don’t make a false apology, which goes something like, “I’m sorry you weren’t satisfied. I’ve been in business for 20 years and have hundreds of happy clients.” That type of non-apology will just inflame the situation and make you sound uncaring. The best real estate CRM isn’t going to help you retain clients when they see something like that.
Instead, be empathetic with a response like, “I know how frustrating it is when a transaction takes longer than it should. I also know that the restaurant where we ate after the closing is one of your favorites, so please have dinner on me. I’ll contact you to make arrangements.” And, then contact them before they have a chance to respond to you online!
Using that type of response will show that you care and want to make it up to the client. Even if it costs you money, it’s your best approach. With that second example, you’ve illustrated an excellent customer service philosophy, and taken the conversation offline. If your client doesn’t go back to update the comment, you can do it yourself, by posting something similar to “I’m glad you enjoyed your night out!”
It’s never easy to deal with an unhappy client, but when they’re unhappy online, it can have a very big impact. Handling the situation professionally will help you protect your reputation and build your brand.