Leaving negative comments on a business's social media is a very common way of complaining to a customer service agent.
Although it may seem daunting for a business to react, it’s important to face the criticism head-on.
Understanding how to properly respond to negative comments is a necessity for any online platform and helps build the groundwork for any future conflict.
At the end of the day, businesses use their social platforms to control the way their information is being displayed to the public. Use the opportunity to also control the narrative and respond properly to negative comments.
Don’t Lose Your Cool
Never argue with a customer in public. It’s important to keep your composure and professionalism while responding to negative comments online because your response directly associates with your business's views. Always acknowledge what is being said and take time to understand how you can help resolve the issue for this person. Sometimes it takes more than just a response back to the comment (which we will touch on later), and sometimes it’s as simple as an apology. Losing your cool will only make the situation worse and may cost you a client and potentially your public image.
Respond Within 24 Hours
When someone takes the time to leave a positive or negative comment on your page, the last thing they want is to be ignored. Responding to any issues within 24 hours shows that you care about their experience and are willing to resolve any issues. If you need more than 24 hours to address the issue, let the person know that you’re taking the steps to get more information and will be in touch with them as soon as possible. This doesn’t just show that you’re addressing the issue, but also that you care enough to take the time to get to the bottom of things.
Take the Conversation Private
When you’re dealing with an issue online, you never know what direction the conversation might go. A great way to keep the conversation personal and to the point is to ask for the commenter to call or email you directly. Additionally, if you have their account information you can send them a message. Keeping the discussion private can help get down to the issue one-on-one, and stop potential comments from on-lookers looking to influence the situation.
To Delete or Not To Delete?
It’s a rule of thumb for us never to delete a constructive comment. With this being said, if the comment is a form of cyberbullying, includes racist remarks, or is spam, go ahead and delete it. Negative feedback can help your business focus on what you can do to improve and move forward. Although some negative remarks may be more out of spite than accuracy, it’s important to respond to the comments head on and show your audience you can take responsibility and are willing to work to provide a solution. Use the opportunity to turn around a situation instead of fuel it.
Personalize Your Response
Never use an automated response when replying to a negative comment. We suggest always using the commenter's first name, referencing the situation at hand, signing off personally, and following up as soon as possible. When people leave negative comments, they are often just looking to be heard. It’s important to remind yourself that your response to that comment directly displays your understanding of their issue and in turn sets a foundation for the resolution.