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How To Respond to Negative Feedback on Social Media

30 Sep, 2015 McKell Naegle

It happens to the best of us. Every company is going to have to deal with negative feedback eventually. Even if the detached nature of the Internet itself didn’t make it easy for people to unleash their vitriol at unsuspecting targets, you would still have to deal with the fact that the occasional negative review is inevitable. (We hope it’s occasional, anyway.) As hard as you might try, you can’t please everyone all the time. Because your social profile acts as the online face of your brand, you need to keep it clean and blight-free. How do you deal with the inevitable negative comments sure to come your way?

First, you need a tried-and-true process for handling negative feedback. The overwhelming majority of complaints you’ll receive are things you should probably deal with immediately. The trick is passing it to the right person. You should address the problem that caused the feedback rather than the complaint itself.re

There are also different kinds of negative feedback, and each one requires a separate action. You should certainly respond to both constructive and pressing feedback. Constructive feedback is the kind that politely suggests a way in which your company could improve; you should reward their civility by responding in a timely manner. Pressing feedback occurs when one of your services or products isn’t working and you need to take care of it immediately. There’s also disgruntled feedback, which you should respond to most of time, unless the people in question are just mean and antagonistic. These people are probably best ignored—though sometimes even the most irrational comments can provide a chance for you to appear magnanimous and reasonable. You should handle any situation with speed and tact. The better you handle a situation, the better you’ll look.

Also, don’t take it personally when someone attacks you or your business. The complaint isn’t usually anything to do with you as a person—just the products and services you provide. Instead of getting offended, use it as an opportunity to learn.

When responding to a negative comment, it’s a good idea to state the complaint. This makes it clear that yes, you did hear the complaint. Don’t give excuses—nobody cares. State your intention to make things right, and try to resolve the issue to the best of your ability, even if costs you. Refund a check or allow a product to be sent back. This might cost you in the short run, but the goodwill you build with your customer base will be worth it. Some comments should be dealt with publicly. However, you should also know when to take the conversation to a direct message rather that prolong the struggle in front of everyone’s newsfeeds.

When you handle a negative comment in an intelligent way, the experience can be positive for everyone involved. Not only have we instructed you on how to handle negative reviews, we recently posted on how to earn positive reviews. Have you ever had to deal with negative feedback online? Tell us how you handled it in the comments below.

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