How Your Business Should Respond to Negativity and Complains Online

Whether you promote your business online or not, it’s inevitable that your brand will encounter some negative feedback at one point or another, even if you do everything perfectly. An irate customer that turns to the internet to complain about your brand is likely to be near the top of your list of nightmare scenarios.
But don’t worry, if addressed appropriately, this negativity actually provides you with an opportunity to build more respect for your brand. Outlined below are some dos and don’ts to help teach you how to respond to negative comments and complaints about your business online:

Don’t delete negative posts and comments about your business.
While this is probably the first thing you want to do when you come across something negative someone has to say about your brand, resist the temptation! If you delete the comment, it may show your audience that what’s being said is actually true or worse, that you don’t care about rectifying the situation. If your fans catch on that you are regularly deleting any unfavorable comments or reviews about your business, you are likely to lose credibility and trust with your audience. Ignoring these comments or reviews is just as bad as deleting them and doing so will send a direct message to your audience that you don’t care.

Respond promptly to the complaint or issue at hand.
Taking advantage of social media monitoring tools can help to alert you of any mention of your brand, good or bad. According to a recent survey conducted by The Social Habit, 32 percent of consumers expect an online complaint to be addressed within 30 minutes, and 42 percent within 60 minutes.The sooner you can respond to a negative comment, the easier it will be for your to resolve the situation at hand and win back the customer’s trust.

Offer an apology AND a reasonable solution to the situation.
If you really think about it, the person that is complaining about your business online, whether it’s on your blog or social media site, obviously had some sense of loyalty to your business at one point because he or she “liked” your page or chose to follow your blog. If the complainer did not want to give you an opportunity to resolve his issue, he wouldn’t have wasted his time by posting a negative comment about your business.

This is your chance to take the “we hear you, we value our customers, and we want to make this right” approach. Many of these disgruntled consumers just want to be heard and have their issues addressed. If you can do this promptly and resolve the situation appropriately, there is a very good chance you will earn yourself a lifelong advocate for your brand.

Encourage a follow-up comment or review once the situation is resolved.
It’s only natural to have a mini panic attack when someone says something negative about your business online. However, if you responded promptly to the situation, offered an apology, and resolved it in a way that was satisfactory to the complainer, you should request a follow-up comment or review. This will clearly show you’ve followed through with addressing the complaint and resolved it in such a way that was impressive in the eyes of your followers.

A consumer that feels good about the way that you dealt with his complaint should have no issue writing a follow-up response to his negative post about your business. This is also a powerful tactic for building respect for your brand.

Bottom line, try to think of every negative complaint as an opportunity to prove how awesome your company really is. Try your best to wow them, leave them with the feeling of being fulfilled. Let this be your motivation when choosing the appropriate way to respond.

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