How Should You Handle Negative Online Customer Comments?

26 Sep 2013
by Benjamin Hoch
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Negative reactions from customers are a fact of life.

People are never going to be perfectly happy with every single item they come across. Services are bound to have a complaint or two.

Depending on how many people your company serves you are likely to end up with quite a few complaints. This is nothing to worry about if the majority of reviews you receive is positive. There’s always going to be a few Negative Nellies.

The problem comes in when these negative types post their reviews online.

Negative Commenters

Companies that have social networking accounts often find that their customers like to comment on their pages or status updates. Usually this is a good thing.

People are interacting with you or your staff. They’re sharing links, sharing your status, your sales or menus…whatever you have that they find interesting. Then suddenly, you see a negative comment.

Someone isn’t happy with your service or product. Sometimes this creates a flood of other negative commenters who find your networking account in order to complain.

These comments may be valid – people looking for quick resolution. They may also be from people that just want to say they’re unhappy with their experience. Then you have others that like to cause drama.

Resolution Seekers

The people posting comments or tweeting negative comments directly to you often want a resolution. This is your chance to shine.

Take negative experience comments and turn them into a positive resolution. Offer to correct the problem.

Be polite and ask what you can do to help. Don’t refer them to email support or phone support, often these will end up with the ‘run around’. Resolve the issue through social media posts or private messages. Do not send the customer elsewhere, ever!

Writing on the Wall

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to resolve a problem.

The poster may never come back after posting their experience. You can reply politely and offer to correct the problem as with the first type of commenter.

There’s likely to be no response from this unsatisfied individual. They’re probably not interested in a replacement or a free item, they’re just letting you know how they feel.

Negative Nellies

These posters are out for a fight. Nothing you do will satisfy them.

Never fall into the trap of arguing with these posters. You will end up tarnishing your brand. Remember- other people are always watching. You may not see them, they may not comment, but there are always people waiting to watch drama unfold. Treat these posters as you would the others.

Politely offer a refund or a replacement. If they refuse, there’s nothing more you can do. If they accept, there’s a distinct possibility you’ll hear from them again – negatively. Keep your temper and frustration in check when an argumentative commenter arrives.

The way you handle negative comments will reflect on your brand.

Never argue, never name call, and never get dragged into an internet fight because no one ‘wins’ when business is at stake.

About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on social recruiting, marketing, and other business topics.

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