Responding to Negative Comments on Social Media: How Do You Do It?

While the wide-spread popularity of social media has accelerated the speed of information-sharing and the emergence of digital communities, at the same time, it has also made it easier for people to spread negativity and hate, which can be especially damaging for small businesses.

From global brands to local businesses and individuals, having to face criticism and negative comments in the public domain is the norm rather than the exception. And in order to build a substantial brand presence and online credibility, it’s important to handle these comments in a way that builds transparency and trust with your prospects and customers.

customer feedback by stars
On that note, let’s understand the best approaches to respond to negative comments on social media.

1. Respond Quickly

It may seem tempting to ignore a complaint or negative opinion, but it’s important to address these reviews as soon as possible. Casual bystanders—who may be potential customers—will notice how quickly you address complaints.

If you need to take some time to investigate the matter further, you can simply respond and let them know you’re looking into it and will reach out soon. Try “Thank you for your feedback. We are looking into this for you, and we will be in touch as soon as we know more.”

You may also want to invite the customer to reach out with additional insight if they did not provide enough context in their review. Remember, most customers just want to know that their complaints are being heard and taken into consideration.

For SEO purposes, leave your business name out of the response when you respond to negative reviews. That way, when people search for your business, your negative reviews won’t likely be the first thing they find.

2. Being Patient and Polite

Even if a comment is personal or rude, it’s important to stay calm and composed while responding. As difficult as it can sometimes be, aim to take the high road and don’t engage with aggression—instead, let them know you’re willing to solve their problem.

In the digital world, where information travels at the speed of the light, it is important to steer clear from adding fuel to the fire. It takes minutes for online watchdogs to catch hold of controversial back-and-forths and turn it into a viral sensation

3. Handle the Conversation in Person if Possible

No one likes to see their dirty laundry aired in public. Instead, ask the customer to write an email or contact you directly to discuss their negative feedback. If you have their contact information, you can also give them a phone call.

Take time to openly listen to their feedback, and offer a resolution that works for you and your business. Avoid getting into verbal battles—moving the conversation to a private space can help you control the narrative.

4. Avoid Excuses & Arguments

As a business, putting out excuses for public shortcomings is one of the most common mistakes and should be avoided at all costs. Excuses nudge an annoyed customer further down the wrong path, which may encourage them to take their business elsewhere.

Even though the customer’s not always right, hold their whims as absolute truths while addressing negative social media comments. Arguments over obvious errors should be made in private conversations only.

From a business standpoint, handling negative comments and reviews in a haphazard fashion is one of the biggest reputation hits that one can take. And while it may be tempting to just ignore them, most review sites will not allow you to simply delete negative comments. It’s important to give a response that addresses your customer’s concerns and shows other potential customers how you like to do business.

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