Keep it Positive When Handling Negative Online Reviews

It happens. A customer is unhappy with your company or product and they let you have it on social media. What happens next is critical — how will you handle the interaction and try to maintain and protect your brand?

Realize that you can’t make every single customer happy 100% of the time but you should always strive to do so. When an unsatisfactory experience does occur, react to it as quickly as possible but in a professional manner. Here are some tips:

  • Post a comment to the customer complaint that will allow you some time to find out what happened. A public acknowledgement that “we’re looking into this and will get back to you soon” or something like that is perfectly fine. However, you should try to resolve the matter within a few hours if possible.
  • Research quickly what negatively impacted the customer’s experience. Just the facts and no excuses. Remember even if the customer was difficult there’s no excuse for bad service. Determine if this can be fixed online or if you should take the conversation offline through email or direct messaging.
  • Write out a reply comment before you post anything. Seeing it in writing will help you evaluate how it will look to the world. Also, your reply should acknowledge the customer’s negative experience even if your organization did nothing wrong. If you did goof up on your end, fix it and make it right for the customer. Your post can say you are working with the customer to make amends even if you decide to take the conversation offline to resolve.
  • Realize that some customers just want to complain. And, there are internet trolls out there looking to cause trouble. Always take the high road. Unless the post uses abusive or foul language, don’t take it down. How you handle the situation online will demonstrate to others how your brand is committed to providing a positive customer experience.

If handled quickly, appropriately, and in a nice manner, sometimes a negative post can turn into a positive experience for others reading your response. Be true to your brand and remember that your reply to that customer will live forever online.