How to Respond to a Negative Comment on Social Media?

What is a Negative Mention?

A negative mention is any comment that you can receive from a person who is dissatisfied with something or who is vocal about a painful problem that they're trying to find a solution to. As with all mentions, it is your job as a business to respond to these users and handle the situation well. After all, if you make an unhappy customer even angrier, you could dissuade future customers from using your product or service.

An example of a negative mention can be a visitor complaining that they get a 505 error every time they enter a certain section of your page or that he or she cannot connect to Wi-Fi in your local coffee shop. It can also be an upset person who failed to purchase last tickets to their favorite band's concert and now is desperately looking for a scalper. Every mention like the ones mentioned (if it's relevant to your business or offer) are a great opportunity for you to connect and win these people over.

Why is Replying to a Negative Comment Important?

Although it may seem like something bad, there is nothing more valuable in social media monitoring than a negative mention. It sounds irrational, yet the possibilities of monitoring, analyzing and reacting to a comment of an unsatisfied customer, are really vast.

You can learn a lot through monitoring:

  • Negative comments about your brand, product or service written by an unsatisfied customer
  • Negative comments about your competitor's brand, product or service written by an unsatisfied customer
  • Comments with problems your clients are struggling with

Whether your business is present online or offline makes no difference; you need to monitor the online world on a regular basis. Monitoring (and reacting to) negative mentions will help you with managing any crisis situation, understanding and connecting with your audience, finding new product opportunities and gaining new clients.

How to Reply to a Negative Comment?

Rule number 1: Respond ASAP

It is really crucial that you are the first person that replies to a negative comment as soon as it appears. If you can do it within a few minutes you will impress the author and make him feel important.

Rule number 2: Say "thank you"

It may seem far-fetched, but you have to say thank you even if somebody criticizes you. After all, if constructive, any negative feedback can be a great source of information on what you have to improve to succeed. Furthermore, if somebody takes the time to write something about what they dislike it means that they care. It's been said that only 1 out of 10 unsatisfied client actually speak out.

Appreciate it.

Rule number 3: Apologize

Make sure to apologize for what you have done wrong or just for the inconvenience that the client had to go through, even if it is not directly your fault. You can for instance say that you are sorry that the client feels in a certain way. Acknowledge your errors and do not bring up excuses why something has happened or blame the client. Remember "the customer is always right".

Rule number 4: Be empathetic

What the person writing a nasty comment really wants is to be acknowledged and heard. Therefore, it is so important to show them that you understand how they feel and if you were them, you would most probably feel the same. Instead of feeling offended and defending yourself, put yourself for a second in their shoes. Changing your perspective can really impact how you view a certain situation.

Rule number 5: Offer a solution

The customer had a problem so now your goal should be to solve it. Even if you do not have an immediate solution, ensure the author of the comment that you are going to find one. Let him know the steps of what you will do next and get back to him shortly. Even if your final solution will not be what they really expect, your care and engagement is highly likely to be appreciated.

When it to comes to reacting to negative comments online, you have to keep in mind that you are there for your clients, not the other way around. A good, responsive customer support is what will make your company successful. Remember to always be polite even to the angriest and meanest of commenters and to not take it personally. Replying to every comment professionally and with empathy will for sure endear you to your audience.