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Why You Should Respond to Negative Comments on Social Media

Why You Should Respond to Negative Comments on Social Media

Show that your company cares about its customers by responding in a complete and timely manner to negative comments on social media.

I was recently talking with a client who works in a sector known for negative online reviews. Customers tend to air their grievances in public forums — especially on social media — as a means of resolving issues that could be handled offline with a quick phone call to customer service. Some are just looking for discounts and know that a thorough online bashing will usually do the trick. Either way, the client did not see the point of engaging in an unwinnable argument.

I totally get it. But, unfortunately, not a good idea.

It’s really important to respond to negative comments for many reasons. Let’s walk through a few.

You are not a robot.

More and more, people turn to social media and other online forums to complain. It’s so easy to do! You don’t even have to face the consequences — or a real live person!

Don’t give them that satisfaction. Or, maybe I should say, prove them wrong. Give a voice to your business. Show them that someone is listening, that an actual human is reading their words. They’re not just complaining in a vacuum.

An always-respond policy will discourage commenters who don’t have a real issue that needs solving. Of course, it won’t stop people looking for a fight, but at least it shows that you’re not a robot, and that they should think twice before bashing you for all the world to see.

That brings up another critical point.

Everyone’s watching.

When you don’t respond to negative comments on social media, all of your followers and all of the people that come across your page see that. They get only one side of the story — and it ain’t pretty. They see that you didn’t care enough/have the time/[insert other bad assumption here] to respond to customer concerns. Imagine how that reflects on your business.

But when you do take the time to respond to comments, people see that, too. They see you making an effort to improve your customers’ experiences. Even if they have no context for the complaint, they have the opportunity to form a favorable opinion of your business because you care enough to respond.

Maybe you’re wrong.

Maybe there was a real lapse in service. Maybe the product isn’t meeting customer expectations because something’s wrong with it. Or, maybe that person you think is complaining to get a discount is really looking for a legitimate answer to a problem. Any way you spin it, that person deserves a chance.

Even on platforms where you can choose whether or not to enable comments, opening the comments feature indicates that your business is interested in hearing from customers and engaging with them in meaningful dialogue. And while you’ll inevitably receive some negative feedback, you will most certainly learn about problems that you would never have known about otherwise. You may even win back customers if you handle things correctly.

It’s discouraging to receive even one negative comment, let alone more. But by quickly responding to them and genuinely trying to solve any problems, you deliver on a promise of transparency, openness, and customer service. You become a company people would like to do business with, no matter what the haters are saying.  

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