Customer Experience News & Trends

5 things you can do about your haters

It used to be called hate mail, and it could be dealt with in a private way. But social media changed everything. And now angry customers can cause much more damage.

Haters in social media stir a pot bigger than anyone could’ve imaged just a few years ago. As a result, companies have to respond quickly and publicly.

Remaining professional is the first key to responding to social media haters. From there, you might want to follow these companies’ leads.

They’ve taken tweets and other negative feedback and turned them into relationship-mending and loyalty-building approaches that have worked well:

1. Dallas Cowboys

It’s a team people love to hate, so fans seldom hold back their criticism on how the team performs. Angry tweets can come into the organization within seconds of a play and stream in for days from all the Monday Morning Quarterbacks out there.

Rather than defend decisions and actions, the Cowboys used the tweets as a tool to build bonds with fans and haters. On it’s website, players read the hating tweets about themselves, often laughing at what was said or responding with the same snarky tone as the tweeter.

2. Coca-Cola

Some time ago, customers, lovers and haters had things to say about Coca-Cola’s ad that included a multilingual version of America the Beautiful. Many of the haters’ take on the ad wasn’t what the cola maker intended at all.

While it’s not ideal to have to tell an audience what you mean, sometimes it works. In this case, and in the backlash, Coca-Cola launched a second, longer ad that included “e pluribus unum” – a Latin term for “Out of many, one” to remind everyone that America was built by immigrants and continues to grow with them (the sentiment they’d aimed for in the original commercial that started all the hating).

3. Spirit Airlines

You probably can’t find a person who doesn’t have some sort of negative airline story. So many airlines have learned to take the hating in stride. In one case, Spirit Airlines used its hate tweets as an opportunity to give all of its customers a bonus.

First, it had a pair of musicians sing a little tune using hate tweets and other common airline complaints. Then Spirit encouraged people to visit to cash in on air miles for venting their airline frustrations. It was a short-lived promotion, but it got angry customers to reconsider their negative stance.

4. Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza asked its haters to stand up and shout. Then the pizza giant put all the hate out there for everyone to see.

Domino’s aimed to reinvent itself a few years ago, so the company asked customers to tell it what they really thought of the product. They said the crust tasted like cardboard, the sauce was like ketchup and frozen pizza was superior.

Domino’s took it in and advertised what the haters said. Then it promised to make everything better, calling their campaign Pizza Turnaround. Today, sales are up about 15%, and Domino’s is opening new locations.

5. Hootsuite

Hootsuite took a closer look at its most critical messages and used them to launch a better social media management product. And it let customers know that their candid feedback was the platform for the changes they intended to make.

In a Jimmy Kimmel-inspired “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets,” Hootsuite employees read the sometimes nasty messages to a camera. Then Hootsuite posted those comments, along with an introduction to the improvements that were on the way.

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