This week in my grad school adventures, I’ve been asked to explain how I would moderate these two posts on a company Facebook page. Here we go.
To a fast food chain:
“I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”
That does sound gross. I’m sorry you had to experience anything other than a clean restaurant, and thank you for reporting these conditions. I’ve already contacted the manager of the 1467 Justin Kings Way location, and he is immediately addressing the problems you’ve pointed out. The restaurant never should have been in this condition, but we’re lucky to have customers like you who let us know when something’s not right. The next time you’re craving a burger, you’ll find a much improved store on Justin Kings Way. Thanks again!
I would absolutely not delete the customer’s comment. Customers should empowered to leave feedback — positive or negative — on our Facebook page.
I think the most important thing to do with this response is to own up to the problem. There’s nothing worse than a response from a brand saying something like, “I’m sorry if you were disappointed.” That’s telling the customer their bad experience is their fault.
It’s also important to thank the customer and then actually do something about the problem. In this example, I would immediately contact the manager of that location to get some changes rolling so I could report back to the customer, as I did above, that the manager is working on the problem. That inspires much more confidence in the brand than “We’ll pass your feedback along.”
To a mainstream news network (let us assume the reporting was balanced, with equal time to both sides):
“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.”
The conflict in the Middle East elicits strong emotions for many people. Our news organization realizes this and reports on the topic as fairly and sensitively as possible. Last night’s report allowed equal time for both sides (here’s a link in case you missed part of the report: [LINK]), and I assure you we will continue to allow equal time for each party. Thanks for keeping us on our toes!
Although I do think it’s important for news organizations to apologize when they get something wrong, I think it’s just as important to not apologize for the things we do right. People have always cried bias when they don’t agree with something in the news.
Take for instance AL.com’s Auburn and Alabama football coverage. We have the same number of people staffing each school, same average number of posts on each school. Yet, depending on who you’re talking to, AL.com is either biased against Auburn or Alabama. I’ve always said that as long as we’re getting this complaint from both sides, we’re doing our job.
Note: If the above post actually contained the full F-word, our general practice on AL.com’s Facebook page would be to remove it. I would, however, reach out to the person via private message to explain why the post was removed and still address their complaint.