Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media

Dealing with negative comments on social media

One of the most common questions I get asked is how to deal with negative comments on social media. There will always be people who have something negative to say, no matter how great a job you’re doing and it’s never a nice feeling to read something negative about your business. Here’s how to deal with those moments while putting your best foot forward.

We’re not perfect

We’re humans. Things happen. If you’re in the wrong or your business has stuffed up, acknowledge it and genuinely apologise. There’s a whole lot of reasons for someone to justifiably complain – there might have been a legitimate misunderstanding about something, your product might be faulty, an order was missing something or lost in the post, or your staff weren’t at their best when interacting with the customer. We all make mistakes. In these moments, it’s best to be open, honest and understanding.

Here are our 5 steps to dealing with negative comments:

  1. Thank them for getting in touch
  2. Acknowledge their concern
  3. Apologise if you’re in the wrong
  4. Take it offline and follow up to ensure it’s resolved
  5. Always be compassionate and genuine

An example response might look like:

We’re so sorry to hear about your experience. We always strive to do our best but it looks like we messed up this time. We’d love to help you out, so please email us at xxx@xxxxx.xxx or call xxx on 1234 5678.

Depending on the situation, you might include other details, but this is a great starting point.

And for those difficult customers?

And what about those ‘difficult customers’ who are looking for attention or just want to have a rant? Someone who might be complaining or leaving negative comments unjustified? It happens. I can tell you for certain you won’t win a fight on social media. Engaging in a public war will only incite them further and blow the incident up to involve more customers and followers. When these moments arise, stop. Take a deep breath. Make yourself a cuppa. Step outside. Do whatever you need to do to switch off and cool down. Then, come back to it and respond with empathy and compassion. Tweak the response about to make it work for the situation, perhaps something like this:

Hi xxx, thanks so much for letting us know what happened. We really value customer feedback and we appreciate the time you took to get in touch. We hate when things like this happen and we want to make it right. We’d love to talk to you directly, so please email us at xxx@xxxxx.xxx or call xxx on 1234 5678. Thanks again.

They keep making public comments

If they continue to make negative comments on your account, simple let them know again that you’d love to talk to them personally and for them to contact you directly. Don’t copy and paste your above response (you’re human remember, not a robot) but reaffirm what you’ve already said. Show them that you’re listening and you care but that you’re not going to engage in combat. This will show other community members too that you’re a compassionate business and that you’re trying to solve this problem, not simply ignoring it.

Deleting comments

I don’t recommend deleting comments because it can lead to even more angry comments from the customer and from others joining it. Generally speaking, it’s best to address their concern with honesty and compassion which shows other customers that you’re a genuine brand who’s doing your best – not a brand who has something to hide. If, however, the comment is more along the lines of bullying towards another customer, or abusive, threatening or just inappropriate, you have every right to delete it.

We're humans

Create social media community guidelines

In your Facebook page, you can write and add in your own Facebook community guidelines so that you know what your stance is if and when people post nasty comments. You can also gently point customers in the direction of these guidelines if they abuse them. This can especially help if follower begin attacking other community members or if a conversation turns inappropriate. If you need to delete their comments, let them know that you’ve done so because you’re committed to creating a safe and supportive space and their comment violated your community guidelines. You can also let them know to contact you directly if they’d like to talk further about it.

What are your greatest challenges when it comes to dealing with negative comments? I’d love to know gorgeous kin. What comments or situations are you left feeling lost at how to respond? Has there been one moment that’s taught you a lot in this space? Share with us below!

Kylie, xx

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