We’ve all seen it - The infamous negative review on your business's social media page. It's natural to want to defend yourself, but that isn’t always the answer. Most people would rather leave a negative comment on social media than take the time to write a positive review. Reliability, expertise, and professionalism are a company’s most admired attributes, and responding to comments and reviews is the perfect time to portray those qualities to your audience. Don’t stress about the negative comment! Instead, learn how to handle those tough comments with poise and integrity.
"92% of consumers read online reviews."
- Khusbu Shrestha
Step 1: Assess the Comment
Read the comment. Is there a problem? Can you solve the problem? More often than not there’s an underlying problem fueling the complaint. It’s your job to figure out how you can solve it or right the wrong. For the sake of transparency, avoid deleting negative comments unless outright inappropriate or hateful. Inappropriate comments can be deleted because they aren’t relevant to your company or genuine problems that you can work to solve. Deleting obscenity can also safeguard younger people in your target audience. Establish a code of conduct or set of rules to help you determine which comments to address, which to ignore, and which to delete.
Step 2: Draft Your Response
This is the toughest part of the process because your first instinct is to defend your brand. Stay calm. It’s important to remember that your response will be seen by your entire audience and not just the original commenter. All of your followers and those who stumble across the thread will bear witness to the conversation, so this is a huge opportunity to turn a bad situation into a positive relationship with potential consumers. Be timely and polite in your response. Responding in a timely manner conveys how much the consumer’s opinion matters to you.
Step 3: Respond and Document
If you or your company was at fault, don’t be afraid to apologize for the miscommunication and own up to the problem. This builds your reputation as a respectable company that will provide solutions for problems if and when they arise. After you’ve responded, it might be a good idea to document the conversation for future reference. Whether you’re training employees on how to respond to negative comments or pulling from past situations for inspiration in future instances, having that documentation is in your best interest.
Voilà! You’ve successfully addressed the negative review, handled the problem in a timely manner, and your audience now knows that you take action and responsibility when necessary. These characteristics are vital to your company’s reputation, especially as it grows. Now your consumers know that you genuinely listen and take their opinions into account.