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What To Do When You Receive Negative Comments From Customers Online

Turning A Negative Into A Positive: Handling Customer Comments

Negative reviews and comments happen, but they don't necessarily mean your business is headed for a disaster. Instead, with the help of a few tips and tricks, this situation can be turned into an opportunity for your business. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with negative comments:

Document it

A negative comment can be an indicator that something is amiss in your business. Documenting complaints and comments can help you look at the comment when you are in a better frame of mind. Online comments and posts can be made, and deleted, instantly; yet another reason you should always document the comment in some way. You can document this activity by taking a screenshot that include the comment, or simply by taking a picture with your cellphone. However you choose to document it is strictly up to you, but you should document it. This is a precautionary measure, just in case the situation escalates, or if you later require proof that something was said.

Keep Your Cool

Never respond angrily to a negative comment. In order to turn a negative comment into something positive for your business, you must always reply calmly and professionally to your negative commenters. Also, never ever take these comments personally and engage in a back-and-forth Internet argument with them. These are places where your customers are most often. You do not want to put anything there that reflects negatively on you, or your business.

Don't Delete, And Don't Delay

Word travels quickly online. Once you know what your response is going to be, post it as soon as possible. There is no point in deleting the negative comments. This is the Internet. Someone, somewhere can find it. It is safe to assume that anything posted online can be retrieved forever. Responding positively to a negative comment can actually benefit your business. By validating and trying to address a situation, customers will view your business as helpful and professional.

What To Say And Do

  1. You set the tone for the conversation in your reply. If you are aggressive in your response, chances are the customer will be even more aggressive in the follow-up response.
  2. Always respond to the comment in public. The culture of social media requires you to respond to these types of posts, but it doesn't require that the entire conversation be public. You want to respond to these types of commenters with something similar to this, "I deeply regret your experience. And, I am looking forward to helping you resolve and correct this issue. Can you please PM/message me more?" Or, something like, "We would like to ensure each and every customer is satisfied. Please email me more information so that we may take steps to remedy this situation," and provide them with an email address.
  3. Once you have moved the conversation to a more private space, you can deal with the customer's issue directly, and personally.
  4. Once the issue is resolved, feel free to go back (especially if it was on Facebook), and post on the comment again that the issue has been resolved. You can try something like, "Thanks so much for letting us know. Following our conversations and the actions we have taken, I hope the issue has been resolved for you!"

Need Help Finding The Negative Comments? There are free tools available to help you monitor social media for these types of comments about your business. One of the best, and easiest to use, is Google Alerts.

While, at first, negative comments regarding your business may not appear to be good, how you handle the issue can turn the situation into one that ends up being positive and beneficial for both you, and your business. It's all about how you handle the situation and comment, turning the negatives into positives, engaging your customers, and taking care of their concerns and problems


Jennifer Thompson

Contributor Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson is a Paragould, Arkansas native, and graduate of Arkansas State University with a degree in strategic communications.

She has worked in the field of journalism around Northeast Arkansas for the past 15 years as a writer and editor. She is currently a public relations specialist and freelance writer.

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