6 steps to deal with a Keyboard Conor McGregor
Anyone that has handled a Social Media account for a business, regardless of its size, will at one stage or another come across their very own Keyboard Conor McGregor.
That one guy (or girl) that is there every time you post. Trash-talking about that one time they opened up a pack of cookies and found five instead of six. Bitching and moaning on every single forum on the planet about how your service was down for the first time in 10 years.
But it's how you react (or don't react) that dictates how many times you're going to have to go toe-to-toe with Conor.
Here are some tips to help you not only survive, but thrive when you find yourself nose-to-nose in the ring:
1) Listen for the bell
Unlike the real Conor McGregor who would lament in [metaphorically] tearing you apart in front of a testosterone driven crowd, much like he has been doing to Mayweather recently, his Keyboard-wielding cousin is slightly less forthcoming.
Hidden behind the sanctity of his (or her) laptop screen, these blows aren't delivered to directly, they are left like cowardly boobytraps in the changing room before the fight. They are left in forums and social media channels that you can't see. That you can't hear.
Want to catch Keyboard Conor before the boobytrap springs? Get a Social Listening tool such as; Sproutsocial, Talkerwalker or Brandwatch. Others are available, so do your research. These tools aren't perfect, nor do they suit every budget or need, but they will remove one of the biggest barriers to a fair fight - knowing when the bell has rung.
2) Take the punch
As brand guardians, it's easy to think that Keyboard Conor is wrong. We use state of the art technology, we don't make mistakes. Our staff are well trained, they can't have said that. But that would be the first wrong-step, leave your guard wide open and your chin exposed.
If the Keyboard Conors first jab doesn't land (the call to your office) and the second is a swing-and-a-miss (no reply to the customer e-mail support) then guess what? Keyboard Conor is going to feel hard done by. He's going to come out swinging in the third round, and it's going to be public. He is going to post on every forum he can find, reply to every Tweet that mentions your brand and comment on every picture he can find on Instagram.
It is easier to acknowledge the complaint and deal with it straight away than it would be to take jab-after-jab to the ribs - eventually enough Keyboard Conors throwing enough jabs will lead to long-term damage. Offer up as many avenues as you can for your customers to contact you - an e-mail address, a phone number, a dedicated Twitter handle. Whatever it takes - but make sure you have the right team in place who can handle the complaint before the jab turns in to a nasty left-hook.
3) Consider his style
Not all Keyboard Conors are created equal. Some will bob and weave, some will weave and bob. The same is true in your business. While you have done your best to put your best fighter in the ring, they will all react differently.
It is important that you remove any sting from punches thrown as soon as possible. The longer you are exchanging blows in the ring, the more it escalates and the less chance Keyboard Conor is going to back down. Take his power away by taking the fight out of the ring (offline).
4) Watch out for the sucker-punch
So you've heard the bell, Keyboard Conor has thrown a jab and you've taken it square on the chin. Even better, you've taken it out of the ring. Well done you - but it's not over yet.
Whichever way the decision went, whether Keyboard Conor feels like he has won or lost, it may not be done with. Use your CRM system to keep track of the resolution and to check-in with Keyboard Conor after some time has passed, the adrenaline gone and the bruises have subsided. Failure to do so could leave him out there flapping his gums and trash-talking.
5) Some fighters do it for the money, others do it for fun
If you look back on the careers of those that have fought in a ring, whether it was square or octagon, they typically fall in to two categories. They are either doing it as a way to earn a living and put bread on the table or they are doing it because they get a kick out of it.
The same is true with Keyboard Conors. While you have done everything in your power to quell a complaint when it's genuine, there will still be a contingent who will bait for a fight.
There are two schools of thought; 1) Ignore them. 2) Reply to, or Block them. The caveat? The latter will add fuel to their fire and they will feel justified in their vendetta (righteous or otherwise). Choose wisely but track repetitive jabs over time.
6) After the fight
Whatever the outcome, whether Keyboard Conor was right or wrong, don't forget that it's not done after you've left the ring.
Ensure he knows what the next steps are and come to a mutually agreed conclusion as to the outcome and make sure those agreements are honoured, otherwise he'll be back for a rematch - and you won't like him when he's angry.
Alternatively, you can let us handle Keyboard Conor - learn more here.