How to Respond to Negative Feedback on Social Media

I remember going through a meeting with a client and remembering that they didn’t want to be on social networking sites because they didn’t want to get negative feedback. The thing is, whether or not your company is using social media, someone is talking about your br and on social networking sites like Yelp to review their experience with your br and.

In case you’re wondering whether or not your br and should respond to this feedback, allow me to shed some light on these interesting facts. Firstly, according to a study done by The Retail Consumer Report last year, 68% of consumers that posted a complaint or a negative comment on social networking sites, about their negative experiences, got a response from the retailer. From that, 18% of them turned into loyal customers and bought even more. If you think that is all, you’re wrong. 33% of them turned around and posted a positive review after that, and 34% of them deleted their negative review that they had left earlier. This shows that, if h andled properly, negative feedback can indeed be a powerful tool to gain loyalty from your customers and enhancing, not only their experience with your br and, but also the experience of other customers who view your br and’s online persona – since they would be reading some of the positive reviews that the returning 33% had posted.

And for smaller businesses, gaining loyal customers is extremely important! Question is, how should you respond to negative feedbacks?

1. Respond as fast as possible: According to a study (yes another one) 25% of customers expect a response within an hour, and 6% expect a response within 10 minutes. Having said that, how fast you respond depends upon the industry your business is in.

2. Don’t follow the script all the time: I just hate it when social media managers or the person behind the br ands follows a script. If you don’t know, most customer representative online or offline have a script to follow depending on what customers say on social media sites. Follow a guideline and not a script. Be different and sincere. Be HUMAN.

3. Give customers more information: I remember seeking help via social media and I receive a “we’re sorry about your experience” response without any help and the br and gave the same response to others as well. Remember don’t follow the script earlier? Despite them responding quickly, they did not answer my question or solve my problems, and I had to comment again. Having said that, it’s not only important to respond quick but also how you respond  that matters.

4. Have a separate email or contact: It’s frustrating when you tried emailing customer service without any help, and when you reach out to them via Facebook or any other social networking sites, they tend to give you the same exact email contact. In my opinion, the better choice would be to have a separate email address for Facebook IF email is need. Another alternative would be to reach out to them by sending them a message on Facebook so that you can get more information.

5. Be honest and transparent: Don’t try to hide or give any excuses; instead be upfront with your customers and apologize and admit that it’s your fault if it is. Having said so, if you don’t have an explanation, apologize to your customers and let them know that it will never happen again.

6. Don’t take it personally: Last but not least, don’t take negative comments as personal attacks. Instead, take them as feedbacks as you’re able to see things from a customer’s point of view. However, if you feel that the customers could be wrong, you could try to defend yourself in a polite way.

Have you had any experience with negative comments? Do share with us how you have dealt with it.

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11 thoughts on “How to Respond to Negative Feedback on Social Media

  1. I’ll add a comment as a consumer: When I’ve an issue w/a service/product, etc, you bet I’m going to harness the power of the internet (of course not for every trivial thing). The lack of response from a brand may possibly be worse than the original issue itself. If you’re going to have an online presence (especially social media) then USE it! I never fail to be impressed by brands who acknowledge and post the ‘bad’ stuff. To not do so does more harm than good in the long run and will surely just confirm my negative experience even further.

    1. Hi Meredith, always like people who take the consumer’s perspective!
      Great points; I just wish that more organisations understood what damage they are doing to their image by pretending that SM is either “just” another media channel, or even worse, ignoring it altogether. Here’s power to the people – dare I say at last?!

  2. I can only
    agree, that a company should address also negative customer reviews. Today
    thanks to social networking sites, nothing can stay hidden and we learn about things,
    which we are not even interested in.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jana. Yes the negative need even more attention than the positive, but ALL consumer comments are invaluable. As you say everything is public these days.

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