Handling negative feedback on social media

By October 12, 2015Social Media


Businesses often seek reassurance and advice on how can handle themselves online in the face of negative press or feedback.

If you haven’t already a professional social media management service in place and the peace of mind that a loyal following brings, here are some tips for handling your responses :

Identify what type of feedback it is

An urgent issue
Urgent issues should be dealt with as soon as possible as they are more likely to lose control if it is surrounding an issue of public interest. The sooner you can reply to this, even just to ask for more time to investigate, the better it will be.

A constructive comment detailing how something can be resolved differently in future
Whilst no-one likes criticism, the constructive sort directly from customers can be a gift, particularly as it is likely that more than one person has experienced the same issue, but this is the first person to put it to you in this way. Accept graciously and if you have changed part of your process due to the feedback, be sure to let them know.

A disgruntled customer
This can be the most frustrating form of communication on Social Media. You have a customer who has made you aware of the issue and you are doing everything you can to deal with it. In the meantime, they are continually posting on your feed, causing you to take time out of resolving the issue, in order to answer them. Stay polite, professional, give them a time to expect a response and do respond, even if it’s to tell them you are still looking into it.

These days everybody recognises spam posts and people tend to ignore them and continue as though they aren’t there. Obviously spam posts should be deleted once you log on for the day, they are certainly not worth specially logging on outside of working hours for.

Addressing negative feedback

Social Media is the perfect opportunity to show potential customers how you address negative comments. Striving to reach a positive conclusion looks a lot better than ignoring it or trying to hide it by deleting comments etc. Online customers are often known for skipping positive feedback and going straight to the negative; they want to know that if something goes wrong, how you will resolve it.

Do not hit delete!
A page full of only positive comments can lead others to believe you’re deleting any negative ones and in-turn not trust the company.

Contact the customer privately
This is best using private message or email. Apologise, provide a number they can call to speak to someone directly and offer a future discount if necessary. Don’t make these offers public as it could attract unwanted attention.

If the issue has been resolved successfully and the customer is happy you could also ask (also privately), if the customer could remove the original post. The majority of time they will.

If you have resolved the issue privately and you do not want to ask the user to remove the post, you can respond to the original complaint post that the issue has been resolved etc. Use positive wording when doing so.

Once you have enough of a following fellow fans of your page may try to help and solve customer issues before you have time to respond. There is no better endorsement than that of your community responding on your behalf.

Banning someone from your page should be considered the last resort but if they’re unreceptive, unwilling to listen to reason, become a constant nuisance, hostile and abusive then take action and remove them.


Social Media is now the first port of call for complaints and negative feedback. Not everything will reach a satisfactory conclusion. Resolve issues to the best of your ability and once a conclusion has been reached, move on. Everyone using Social Media is in the same position when it comes to keeping customers happy.

Holly Christie

About Holly Christie

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