So all tour operators know that you should be trying to add value when you say anything on social forums. But what if someone is saying something negative about your tour or activity? It’s tough to know how to respond in these types of situations.
Luckily Hubspot shared some great basic guidelines for social engagement:
Commenting on Forums:
- Ask questions.
- Add just one piece of information (for example, a statistic).
- Comment on other comments.
- Play devil’s advocate (in a friendly way).
- Leave a breadcrumb if there is a lot to explain. Give them a little bit of information followed by a link – you don’t want your comment to be too long.
- A factually incorrect comment.
- A negative comment/question about the company on a blog/article with a large audience. If you’re a small company, respond to each one. If you’re a bigger company and there are too many then prioritise.
- A comment about a positive experience.
- If a blogger or commenter is clearly baiting you to try incite a fight.
- If you have already stated your case, and responding more won’t add value (unless they have new information you feel you need to address).
- When it’s not a worthwhile time investment.
Taking the High Road:
- Be transparent – say who you work for.
- Don’t pick or get pulled into fights.
- Don’t speak bad about other companies or people.
- Disclose any or all affiliations/points of bias.
In general the rule of thumb is to be positive. It’s about how you can turn a negative complaint into a positive experience. Remember to:
- Apologise for the inconvenience it has caused them and explain why it occurred. Be honest.
- Thank them for bringing it to your attention.
- Listen with genuine empathy and focus on solutions (the last thing you want to do is come off as defensive).
- Show the person that you understand their situation by summarising and repeating it back to them.
- Explain the steps you will take or have taken to rectify the situation.
You may also want to offer them something in return for the inconvenience it has caused them. If they are a traveler and they are no longer in town, they will at least appreciate the gesture.
Here’s an example of one bad TripAdvisor review that was handled very well:
TripAdvisor also provides a template for responding to comments:
For more on this topic, download our free social media ebook:
Do you have any experiences with responding to negativity that you’d like to share with us? We want to hear them! Use the comments section below to tell us your story.