No matter how great your business is, you’re bound to get some negative comments on social media or your Google Business Profile from time to time. A few unhappy customers can destroy your company’s online rating. Your online rating is a critical part of your business’s overall reputation. It can have a big impact on your ability to attract new customers, retain existing customers, and even drive sales.

How you respond to negative comments can make a big difference in how your brand is perceived. The correct response can ultimately lead to the customer changing or deleting their negative review and possibly even becoming a customer again. 

Here are some tips on how to respond to negative comments on social media in a professional and effective way:

  1. Respond promptly. Don’t let negative comments sit unanswered for days or weeks. This will only make the situation worse. Respond as soon as possible – a 12-hour response window is ideal. If you don’t have all the necessary information to respond within 12 hrs, at least acknowledge the comment and say that you’re looking into it.
  2. Be respectful. Even if the commenter is being rude or aggressive, it’s important to stay calm and respectful in your response. This will show that you’re professional and that you value all feedback, even the negative stuff.
  3. Understand the issue. Before you respond, do an investigation – take some time to understand the commenter’s issue. What went wrong? Why are they upset? Once you understand the issue, you can start to formulate a response.
  4. Apologise if necessary. If you made a mistake, be sure to apologise – the right way. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with the commenter, but you can acknowledge that you “dropped the ball” or there is “opportunity for improvement in your processes”. This shows that you’re willing to listen and that you value their business.
  5. Offer a solution. If the commenter has a legitimate complaint, offer a solution. This could be anything from a refund to a free product or service. By offering a solution, you’re showing that you’re taking the commenter’s complaint seriously and that you’re committed to resolving the issue.
  6. Don’t get defensive. It’s natural to feel defensive when someone criticises your business, but it’s important to resist the urge to lash out. Getting defensive will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to be understanding and focus on resolving the issue and providing a solution. Use phrases like “your feedback is valuable” and “we understand your frustration.”
  7. Take it offline. If the commenter is being particularly difficult or aggressive, you may want to take the conversation offline. This could mean sending them a private message or contacting them by phone. By taking the conversation offline, you can avoid escalating the situation in front of a public audience.

By following these tips, you can respond to negative comments on social media in a professional and effective way. This will help you to maintain your brand’s reputation and keep your customers happy.

Here are some additional tips for responding to negative comments on social media:

Use the “ACE” method: Acknowledge the person, Confirm the exact nature of the complaint/issue, Educate the person (respectfully). This should play out in conversation like this:

  • A: “Hey ___ thank you for sharing your frustrations.”
  • C: “I just want to confirm that the issue is related to ___?”
  • E: “____ is actually ____. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or concerns for the team.” 
  • Keep your response focused on the issue at hand, and avoid making personal attacks.
  • Use active listening skills to show that you’re understanding the commenter’s point of view.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you need more information.
  • End your response on a positive note, even if you don’t agree with the commenter.

Remember, negative comments are an opportunity to learn and improve your business. By responding to them in a professional and effective way, you can turn a negative situation into a positive one.

In a world of countless ways of communicating with your customers, we are here to help you navigate your way through the right channels. Make sense of Digital Marketing with OMG Digitalcontact us today! 

Contributor: Cinamon Pollard. Read about Cinamon here.