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There’s no doubt that customer feedback is highly valuable.

It can help you identify opportunities to grow and improve your business in ways that you had never considered before. However, when posted in the form of a negative comment or review on one of your social media pages, it runs the risk of damaging your company’s reputation.

The appropriate way to deal with negative comments has been a long-debated topic, which is why we’ve decided to tackle the issue head-on today.

Strictly speaking, companies can’t afford to simply ignore or hide negative comments on their pages anymore. While this action may get rid of the problem in the short-term, it will only cause more issues in the long-run as commenters become enraged by your lack of response. You wouldn’t ignore comments from your customers in real life, so why would you do the same online?

Our friends at Locowise have done some research on this issue and come up with three easy steps for dealing with negative comments. These include acknowledgement, apologizing when necessary, and moving the conversation offline to ensure that the issue is properly resolved.

1. Acknowledgement: Even if you can’t resolve the issue straight away, make a conscious effort to address each comment with a genuine response. Even a simple “We have received your comment and have taken note of your concerns. We will be in touch shortly to address the issue.” will suffice initially.

2. Apologize when necessary: If you find yourself in the wrong, it’s imperative that you offer the commenter a sincere apology. Whilst many companies see apologizing as a sign of admittance, it will help your brand come across as authentic and trustworthy.

3. Take it offline: Whilst it’s important to publicly acknowledge any feedback posted on your social media accounts by customers, it’s best to keep negative comment-resolution private. Whilst it’s very easy to continue the conversation on Facebook, responding to the post with a phone number for the commenter to call will ultimately lead to a better resolution. People find value in talking to a real person over the phone and are more likely to work together with you to come to a suitable resolution for both parties.

Whilst the above advice applies to serious issues, remember that there will be times when it’s appropriate to completely remove a comment/post. The folks at Locowise recommend deleting any offensive content which serves no purpose beyond purporting pure hate.

‘Delete anything that is offensive, and that’s the bottom line. Turn on the “profanity filter” in your Facebook page settings. Add words you’d like to block from comments and posts.’

Following these steps should ensure a long, prosperous relationship with your customers both on-and-offline.

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