How to Respond To Negative Customer Feedback On Social Media

Originally Published Apr. 19, 2018

Long gone are the days when customer complaints went directly to a customer care call center or cluttered email inbox. Nowadays, if you’re a business owner, your customers expect—and demand—an immediate response. Meet the answers to their prayers: social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter or review sites like Yelp. So, do you know how to respond to negative customer feedback on social media?

From losing money and potential customers to not getting investors and positive media coverage, ignoring comments can be a recipe for disaster for your business. And take note, this rule applies to businesses of all sizes. Even mega brands and companies such as Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal, Tesla, and the 53rd richest person in the world) and Delta Airlines have adapted to the new way of responding to customer complaints. On top of everything else, most customers make purchasing decisions based on reviews found online. Even if the review is negative, when customers see that management is responding in a professional and timely manner, it may humanize your company and influence them to still invest in your services.

Embracing customer feedback is a priceless way to improve your services, get new product ideas and set innovative trends in your market. Look at it this way; customer complaints are simply insights to help you level up in business—especially when it comes to recurring feedback regarding quality or level of service.

How to Respond to Negative Customer Feedback: Four Tips

  • Monitor when your business name is mentioned online

Simply set a Google Alert for your name or business name and you’ll receive an email when your name is published in the news. Mention is another insightful business and media monitoring application that collects data from social media. Beyond providing a list of when your name, business name, or product or service is mentioned, it can also help you find influencers, analyze competitors, and generate reports.

  • Have a short statement prepared

Use a prepared statement to respond to customers via social media as well as a sentence, which directs them to continue the conversation offline (e.g., customer care number or Direct Message). In a customer’s eyes, a lack of response is a decision to ignore them. So try to respond within an hour. For instance, “Hey Danielle, thanks for letting us know! Can you… . Apologies for the inconvenience.

  • Own your mistakes publicly

In extreme cases where something went terribly wrong and a customer complaint has gone viral on social media, apologize and communicate with specific ways that you will improve. Lack of accountability sets the foundation for distrust and can create a domino effect of failure for your business.

  • Update your audience on progress

Now more than ever, people buy into people, not companies, So it’s incredibly important to engage regularly with your audience. Whether you tweet, hop on Facebook Live with updates, or send newsletters to your audience, make sure there is a plan to show how the key players behind the scenes of your business are committed to providing customer service excellence.