Cider Corner: Tips on Navigating Social Media Interactions

It seems the mantra of “the customer is always right” has an added caveat in which motivation of a critical or negative online post can be taken into play before deciding how a cidery should react to a comment.

Many cideries do that now and have come up with curated responses and shared with Brewer SOPs in helping to negate negative comments.

Make a Negative a Positive

Blake’s Hard Cider views negative comments as valuable feedback, and its Reputation Management Team handles this information with care. 

“We often find the negative feedback we receive comes from a misunderstanding of what cider is and can be,” they explained to Brewer in an email. “Finding resolution directly and quickly with the customer is the most important part of handling any feedback.”

Bryant’s Cider has a non-standard approach, said owner Jerry Thorton. 

“Reviews regarding bad service or things we clearly did wrong, we will reply directly to the customer and try to make things right for them,” he said. “When someone has a valid concern we feel a personal connection helps often. 

“Some people however are just miserable and have nothing better to do than complain.”

Blake’s feels its model has proven that “kill them with kindness” works. 

“In many cases, our customers just want to be heard and acknowledged,” they wrote. “They want to know that their voice and opinion matters, which to us, is everything. We are nothing without our customers. They keep us honest, agile, and innovative. In most cases, our customers aren’t looking for something free. 

“They just want affirmation that their complaint is valid and being taken seriously.”

Don’t Apologize for Bad Behavior

Doug Smith said that Sly Clyde used to grovel on social media until he said they realized how ridiculous reviewers were getting. 

“They were drunk-posting or covering for bad behavior that had gotten them thrown out,” he said. “As an owner, I personally try to respond to every review and comment and I even include my email and mobile number for the negative ones.”

He even shared one Google Review with Brewer to showcase the extent to which he goes to explain situations of negative reviews. Read here

“Some people apologize for what they wrote but most just never come back,” Smith said. “If you are going to threaten our staff or make racist comments we are ok with you not returning.” 

But for those that are just there to complain and don’t want resolution, Thornton said he isn’t above responding in kind.

“If a customer is being a jerk and the review is something we feel is ‘entitled’ then we get snarky back,” he said. “The days of ‘the customer is always right’ are long gone.”

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