responding to negative comments

How to respond to negative comments on Social Media

January 15, 2019

The threat of negative comments on a business’s social media page can strike fear into many business owners hearts! When they do happen we’re often left grappling with how best to respond. Delete? Comment? Or ignore? We’ve put this simple guide together to help you work out the best way to handle negative comments. Believe it or not, you can turn these customers back into fans by handling the situation with maturity and poise!

Personalise your responses and remain calm
Your response to a negative comment should never be a generic, automated or a cut-and-paste apology. Instead, acknowledge the problem that the customer has faced or is having and see the issue from their perspective. Using their name (if given) as well as attaching your (or whoever is responding) first name to the end of your comment is a great way to personalise your message. Each case will be different, and as such, it is important that each issue is treated personally and the interaction feels human. Matching a customer’s level of aggression or becoming overly defensive is never the right approach as this will not only turn that individual off your brand and can also turn off anyone who reads it.

Respond quickly
Time is a critical factor in responding to a negative comment. The longer a customer’s bad experience goes unnoticed, the more frustrated they will become and the more people will see the unresolved complaint. There are many different ways of keeping up to date with mentions of your brand. On social media sites, this can be done through notifications of tagged comments or by searching your brand name regularly. For all mentions of your brand across the web, Google Alerts can notify you whenever your brand name is mentioned and it’s completely free. For a much more in-depth view of brand mentions, Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Social Studio provides data and statistics on the discussions and mentions of your brand.

This tip can be used equally on positive comments and feedback that you receive. Encouraging and rewarding customers who go out of their way to let you know of a positive experience they’ve had will do wonders to build your brand image.

Offer an apology and a solution
Whether you believe your business was in the wrong or not, an apology for a negative experience is an important step in acknowledging how your customer feels. In the case of a faulty product or service, the obvious measures of ensuring they receive a replacement or refund should be taken. In the case of more indirect complaints, an apology or voucher can assist in resolving the issue. Never delete negative comments as it often leads to customers coming back more frustrated and even more likely to spread their negative experience.

Move the conversation
Even if you believe the issue to be a relatively easy fix, offering to move the conversation to a direct message, email or other forum can further the feeling of personalisation and care as well as being appropriate if the solution involves the sharing of any personal details (e.g. username, password, account details etc).

It is important to remember that every brand will make mistakes and not every single customer will have a great experience. With social media providing people with a powerful platform to voice their negative experience, it is becoming a necessity to know how to properly deal with these complaints. If handled correctly it can not only re-establish a customer’s perception of your business but can build a stronger brand image and reputation in the minds of all your customers.