No matter how good your product is, or how well your team works, you will receive negative comments on social media. It’s unavoidable.
And if you don’t want angry tweets or Facebook posts to ruin your brand, you should learn how to handle negative customer feedback. Here are ten important rules followed by famous brands. We will also talk about the review management tools that can boost your efforts.
How to handle negative comments on social media
Table of Contents
Step 1. Don't ignore negative comments
The worst thing you can do for your brand is to ignore negative comments. It will give an angry client another reason to dislike your brand.
You should reply to every comment whether it’s positive, negative, or neutral. Maintaining public relations is a must for brand building. It helps you connect better with your followers. Monitoring each mention and comment is necessary using tools like Agorapulse, SocialPilot. Agorapulse's pricing structure moves a bit to the higher side with some other usability cons. Here's a list of Agorapulse alternatives you'd might want to have a look at.
If you run a business and put your heart and soul into it, it might be challenging for you to deal with negativity. But, you have to handle it strategically. Otherwise, angry customers will write a bunch of new bad comments to harm your brand.
Step 2. Apologize sincerely
“The customer is always right”. Even if you disagree with the customer’s point of view, you should still say sorry. This is the first step to resolve the conflict.
If your company was involved in a media scandal and has got dozens of negative news articles, comments and reviews, representative of your company must give a public apology. You should publish a post on behalf of the CEO or founder of the company that says “Sorry for the unfortunate error”.
Here is an example of such an apology post.
Here is how Donatella Versace apologized for the design of a T-shirt that demonstrates disrespect for China’s National Sovereignty.
Step 3. Don’t make false promises
Don’t promise to replace the product or return the money just because your customer is unhappy. Analyze the problem first. And then explain to your customer how you can fix the situation.
Take a look at the following example. When Starbucks gets a negative comment on social media, it doesn’t rush to offer free coffee or any rewards as an apology. It asks the customer to reach out to customer service to find out who is wrong and who is right.
Step 4. Be polite
When it comes to negative, inadequate comments, it’s not that easy to keep calm. But you must be polite to save your brand.
You should never use swear words, even if your customers use them. In any case, it will not help you to fix the situation.
Because, if your loyal customers see that you are rude to other customers, they will change their opinions about your company. So please, hide your real emotions, and make your replies as polite and friendly as possible.
Step 5. Take it out of the spotlight
To resolve the conflict, shift the conversation from social media to another place. Ask the customer to write you an email, direct message, or call the customer support.
Don’t start the “word battle” in the comments. If the customer is frustrated, he will write dozens of replies that shows a negative attitude towards your brand. So, if you want to save the image of your brand, you should discuss the problem one-to-one.
Step 6. Personalize your Message
Customers don’t want automated replies. So try to personalize your message and show empathy. Show that you care about your customers. Take a look at the following screenshot.
Tell me: What do you think? Are these messages automated or written by real people?
The Delta Air Lines’ messages are written by a real person, and not automated. They show that the company’s representative really cares about the customer and genuinely wants to help.
Step 7. Reply instantly
Don’t make an angry customer wait for your reply. Respond to negative comments within two hours.
Otherwise, your customers might think you are ignoring them. And, even if you put efforts into conflict resolution, no one will appreciate that.
Step 8. Explain yourself
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is that they do not give explanations to their customers. And as a result, the customers feels frustrated. You should always explain what exactly caused the problem and what your company did to resolve it. Show how much effort your company has put to make the customers satisfied. This will help you get positive results.
Besides, it is also important to explain to your followers that every issue they face is not the fault of the company. For instance, if an airline canceled the flight due to bad weather conditions. The passengers should not blame the airline for being late.
To know how to communicate with shoppers in the right way, look through IKEA’s account on Facebook. Every time a customer put a negative comment or asks why they can’t buy this or that item, or why the delivery is late, the company provides comprehensive answers.
Step 9. Learn from your mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. If your company has made a mistake, don’t panic. You can always find a way to fix it.
You should consider negative comments as a source of information. Read every comment to find out what exactly your customers don’t like about your products or your corporate policy. It will help you find a way to improve your products and take your business to the next level.
Once the issue is detected, you should make a plan on how to fix it. “Admit your mistake and tell your customers what specific actions you will take to resolve the conflict. You should show that you care about your customers to make them trust your brand again”, says Kristina Brush, social media manager at GrabMyEssay.
Step 10. Generate positive comments
It’s impossible to avoid negative comments on social media. But it’s possible to minimize their impact on the brand image.
Can you guess the best way to lessen that impact?
Generate more positive reviews, and they will outshine the bad ones.
Here is how it works. If you get 20 negative comments and ten positive comments, it will hurt your business a lot. But if you get 20 negative comments and 100 positive comments, it will not affect your brand that much.
So, how you can get more positive comments?
Here are a few essential rules to follow:
- Always strive to create engaging social media content to boost engagement and get more comments.
- Reply to every positive or neutral comment. Try to develop a relation with your loyal customers.
- Use humor. It’s a perfect ice-breaker.
Top 5 tools that can help the user in review management
Now let’s talk about online marketing tools you should use to manage negative comments and reviews.
Use this tool to monitor mentions of your brand on the web. Take advantage of analytical features to understand customer perception, spot changes in sentiment, and measure brand exposure in real-time.
If you are looking for a free tool with basic features that allows monitoring mentions, Google Alerts is a good option to consider. You can use it to watch for negative comments on social media as well as see what reputable sites say about your rivals.
Ahref is an all-in-one SEO tool that can be used for brand monitoring. Alerts by Ahref work more effectively than alerts by Google. So, if you don't have money constraints, I would recommend you to use this tool.
This tool is a perfect solution for agencies and social media professionals. SocialPilot allows you to manage social media scheduling and publishing from one place. It also helps in tracking positive and negative reviews better.
If you find it difficult to write replies to negative comments, don’t hesitate to use this online service. Professional writers from Studicus can help you to manage negative reviews effectively.
Wrapping it up
Remember that negative comments are not a big problem if managed in the right way. Multinational companies get dozens of bad reviews daily but it does not affect their revenues. The secret of their success is simple. They know how to communicate with angry customers.
So if you want your company to succeed, watch what people are talking about your brand on social media. React to all the comments you get. Be attentive to the problems of your customers.
And then nothing will hold you back from achieving the results you have been dreaming about.
Frequently Asked Questions
Negative comments on social media can only damage your brand’s reputation if they go unanswered. Ignoring a negative comment would not only give another reason to the angry client to dislike your brand online but will also damage your social proof. This in return will damage your sales, ongoing marketing strategies, and ROIs.
- Understand the whole issue.
- Reply Instantly to the negative comments.
- Keep your tone polite and apologize sincerely.
- Don’t try to control the situation with false rewards and reimbursements
- Shift conversations from social media to DMs, emails, or customer support.
- Explain yourself
- Learn from your mistakes.
No, you should never delete a negative comment on social media. Deleting a negative comment will offend your angry customer to leave more unhappy followups in your comment section, or worse, on your mentions.
Consider the negative comment a blessing in disguise - show the rest of followers and the angry user how much you care about them by replying instantly. It will build up a goodwill with your followers.
However, if the posted comment is vulgar or threatening, feel free to delete it.