November 09 2020

Nip it in the Bud: How to Handle Negative Social Media Reviews

Negative social media reviews, especially on Facebook, are any business's worst nightmare - the trick is to act fast! Here's how to tackle negative reviews...

80% of customers are more likely to buy products due to a company's social media presence.

Nowadays, we all know that social media is a must for modern businesses although it's certainly not easy to do!

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This is especially the case when you find that customers are leaving your business negative reviews whether it be on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

As business owners know, negative social media reviews, especially on Facebook, can seem like your worst nightmare.

However, others argue that "no press is bad press" and negative reviewers do well at getting your name out there at the very least.

Oftentimes, the damage done by bad reviews will depend on how well you respond to it. Half of the time, the trick is to act as fast as possible!

In this article, we'll look at how to tackle negative reviews. Let's get going to undo the damage already made...

1. Don't Take Negative Responses Personally

Although this may be easier said than done, especially when someone you don't know is slaying your company online, it is absolutely essential.

Taking comments personally will result in making it more difficult to respond rationally. Take a few moments to get over the insult and think about how to answer. Keeping your personal emotions under wraps will ensure you can respond in a way which will benefit your company in the long run.

Three-quarters of adults in the UK read reviews online. This means they'll also be reading your responses to negative comments. Make your reply count.

If you are working on your business and improving it based on your negative (and positive) comments, then just a few bad reviews won't completely damage your reputation.

2. Ignore Trolls

Although our advice is that you should reply in a timely manner, it's never worth responding to trolls.

Rather than responding or deleting the comments yourself, make sure to report trolling negative comments.

For example, if someone is posting abusive comments about your company, make sure to report them. Do not reply to anything which is homophobic/racist or sexist.

You can also block extremely negative commenters, for example, those who haven't even visited your business.

Let's move onto how to deal with relevant negative reviews...

3. ALWAYS Reply to Negative Feedback in a Positive Manner

After you've gotten over the initial irritation of receiving bad feedback, you can now decide how to respond.

One of the best pieces of advice is to respond in a calm and controlled manner, definitely without swearing, and by getting to the problem quickly.

Keep these other aspects of replying in mind too:

Monitor Your Social Media Closely

Firstly, it's expected that a company will now be on social media, especially these most popular seven.

There are many benefits to having social media. But, just having a social media page isn't good enough to bring customers in, you'll need to be active and engage your customers.

By monitoring your social media closely, you'll know when someone has written something negative about your business. This initial shock can take you aback. But, this is the best way to respond:

Restate Whatever Your Customer's Complaint is

By restating exactly what your customer has said, they will feel heard and understood. This is absolutely essential.

All you need to do is write a quick summary of their main complaints. For example:

"Dear Andrew, we are sorry to hear that your food was delivered late and your customer service was negative. We will be speaking to our staff to get to the bottom of this situation..."

Don't Make ANY Excuses for Your Problems

Making excuses, especially those which blame the customer, will be read by other customers and cast YOU in a negative light - not your customer.

Do not say things such as "you were late to your booking and drunk". It reads too defensive and doesn't matter in the long run.

OWN the problem that has been dropped in front of you. Don't explain it away. Really spend the time to look into why this happened and what can be done about it exactly.

Instead of Excusing Yourself, Point Out Your Strengths

Don't explain what went wrong on your end, such as a lack of staff or supplies. Instead, apologize and highlight your strengths.

This could be "our restaurant has been happy to serve the local community for 20 years and we always strive to ensure our customers have a wonderful experience."

Then, move on to resolving the problem...

Resolve the Problem in Private

Depending on what the complaint from your customer was, you will need to somehow resolve the problem.

Perhaps this is by offering your customer a free meal on the house, a return or a discount on future purchases.

But, whatever it is, do not air this business in public. People will continue to read back and forth, so limit this to just one response from your company.

You should end your response by saying: "Please contact us via email to discuss how we can compensate you for this issue and improve your experience."

Ask Your Customer to Rectify their Feedback

Once you've spoken to your customer privately, provide them with an apology meal/service/product and in return ask if they will improve or edit their review.

By doing this, you will be able to increase your rating and will have, hopefully, managed to improve your customer's opinion of your business.

3. Follow Up with Customers to Ensure they're Happy the Second Time Around

After you've apologized without emotion, responded and finally sorted out your customer's complaint, they will hopefully have changed their review.

However, don't leave it there, get in touch with them after their next meal/product is delivered to find out if they are happy this time around.

By showing your customer that you care about them, you will hopefully be changing how they feel about your company and will share their positive experience with friends, encouraging them to use your services too.

If this has worked, you have managed to turn negative feedback into a positive situation for your business. It may take a few months, but it will result in a better outcome than an online argument.

4. For Next Time, Disable Posts on Facebook

Your Facebook page is very useful and almost vital for your business. So, why let other people post on it at all?

If you manage your company's Facebook post and are the admin, you can turn off who is allowed to post on your page. Think of this as future damage control.

In order to do this, click "settings". This can be found at the top of the Facebook page. Then, click "general" - here you will find Visitor Posts.

You can then make the relevant changes to your page such as controlling who can post. By disabling posts from other people, you are protecting your brand.

5. Source Reviews by Setting up Google Alerts

Most of your customers expect you to reply within just one hour of posting a complaint. This means you need a way of finding their comments.

In order to respond to a bad review quickly, make sure to set up Google Alerts to let you know when someone online mentions your company.

Do this by visiting your Google Alerts page and simply type in your company's name. You can decide how often you want to be notified and which sources you want to hear from.

By doing this, you'll always be the first to respond to negative responses, getting your apology out there as quickly as possible.

6. Listen to Every Complaint AND All Positive Feedback

It can be very easy to get stuck on the negative comments. But, when it comes to improving your business and building lasting relationships with customers, you should be listening to every word they say. This includes the positives.

Take feedback onboard and implement changes where you can. Compliment your staff when you receive positive feedback and work with them to make changes when the opposite happens.

Always go the extra mile to make all of your customers happy, especially those who are attempting to sully your company name.

Bad Social Media Reviews aren't the End of Your Business

Social media is an essential part of building a successful business in 2018. Therefore, your social media reviews are also an essential part of running your business.

Don't worry about bad social media reviews, as we've seen, you can resolve the issue by:

  • Listening to the problem and taking it on board.
  • Responding in a timely and polite manner.
  • Going above and aboard with an apology.

Need some more information to help you manage your company's social media pages? Check out this article on the Best Time to Post on Your Business' Social Media Pages to learn more.

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