Answering Negative Comments Online

Social media is a beautiful thing. It allows you to get closer to your customers and get instant feedback. This provides companies with lots of really good feedback, both good and bad. However, the question is….what do you do with the negative comments found on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc.? This is a big question.

You basically have three options:

  1. Do nothing. This is the easiest alternative. You can choose to ignore the comments. However, this is not a good idea. Ignoring the comments don’t make them go away, nor do they fix a potential problem. The complainer may cut off patronage and continue to say bad things about you.

  2. Apologize. You can say you’re sorry for what happened. Thank them for their feedback and promise to prevent the problems from happening again. This resonates with customers. They like to know that you are listening and care about their customers. With this alternative, you could also provide some sort of reparations as well, e.g. refund, coupon, etc., but you don’t necessarily have to.

  3. Refute. Finally, you can refute the negative comments. Maybe the customer did something wrong or had unrealistic expectations. In these cases, defend yourself. The mantra ‘the customer is always right’ is wrong. Customers shouldn’t necessarily be able to get whatever they want, whenever they want, especially when they are being unreasonable. In fact, some chronic complainers use online complaining as a form of blackmail, expecting you to apologize, give them their money back, etc. If you use this option, be sure to be tactful, thanking them for their feedback before refuting their claims. Other customers who see this course of action might be impressed that you didn’t simply lay down for unreasonable customers.

Being able to effectively respond to online complaining should be a crucial part of any company’s promotional strategy. Need help with this? Feel free to contact me.