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How to Deal With Negative Comments Online
Ingrain Social Media Tip of the Day #7
Whether it’s a bad review, a customer complaint, or a bad day, put a positive spin on things.
As useful as social media can be for personal connection and business exposure, there are times when it can quickly become a negative space. Whether it be negative news, sad media headlines, trolls, haters, or bullies, all of which can make social media a place that feels negative.
There are several ways in which you can experience negativity online as a business, a bad review, a customer complaint on your page, a negative comment on a post, or a rude message. Businesses may even experience customers who go to their page to leave a bad comment or review instead of contacting them directly when they are angry or annoyed with the product or service they received. Additionally, you may experience negative or vulgar comments left on your social media posts or website.
Most business owners I know are afraid that this kind of feedback will mar their reputation or scar their brand. My response to these questions might come as a shock, but I tell them to welcome negative comments and reviews.
No matter the method of receiving a negative comment online, it’s your job to put a positive spin on things. Most of the time, a kind and patient response is enough to COMPLETELY turn the situation around. Even if it doesn’t, your other followers will see how you responded and you will stand out as the classy person you are. This means you always respond in a positive way that makes the other person feel good about the attention they are receiving. In other words, treat people how you’d like to be treated. Especially in business.
Please note: Although we welcome customer reviews, questions, comments and feedback, there is a clear line between “poor” and “abusive”. Poor reviews are ones in which, if not addressed have the potential to make your business look poor or may cause a potential customer to question whether or not to do business with you. An abusive review or comment is one in which a customer is being belligerent, irate or belittling an employee or social media manager. Abusive content should never be tolerated and is not welcome. When possible, delete all abusive content. If you are unable to delete the content on your own such as on Yelp or Google Reviews, report the content to the site.
What not to do:
- Never get defensive
- Blame the customer
- Deny the situation occurred
- insult the customer’s character
- Disparage your brand or business
All of these things will only do more harm than good and make your brand look bad. Train your employees and social media managers in how to respond to these situations should they arise.
Negative responses look bad. But, so do responses in which you are over apologizing or saying disparaging things about your company. Making a comment like, “We dropped the ball on that one.” may in your head sound like you’re taking responsibility for the situation when it actually sounds like you’re incompetent and can’t get your job done. Instead, apologize for the situation and offer a resolution or answer the question at hand.
Something such as, “We apologize this situation occurred and we would love to offer you a coupon for a free/discounted (fill in the blank). We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention and we will see to it that we make it a priority to ensure this never happens again. We really appreciate you as a customer and hope you’ll give us another chance to prove ourselves in the future. If there’s anything else we can do for you, please contact me personally at (fill in the blank).”
This is a positive response that acknowledges the customer’s feelings and experience, provides a resolution and shows you sincerely care about your business.
You don’t always have to give something away. Customize your response to the situation at hand and your business. The bottom line is, treat people how you want to be treated.
Mandy Davis is the author of The Social Sell: Your DIY Guide to Utilizing Social Media for Branding, Marketing and Sales. She is also a social media native with a passion for helping people take the mystery out of social media marketing.