How to use negative comments and reviews to your advantage

Check out the social pages of any major restaurant, clothing store, or service-related company, and you’re bound to find negative comments and reviews. Before you say, “Can’t I just delete them from the page and pretend they never happened?”… let’s take a step back.

Here’s the deal: You can do that, but you shouldn’t. This is why:

It gives you an opportunity to make things right. Rather than deleting the complaint or bad review, it gives you a chance to reach out to the customer and apologize for the bad experience they had. You should also ask to take the conversation offline or to a private message. This helps to ensure privacy and give your customer a chance to have a one-on-one conversation with you. Here’s a few examples of ways you can comment back:

  • “(Name), We’re so sorry for your poor experience. What you described certainly doesn’t agree with our company values. We want to do whatever we can to make things right. Can you please send us more information at (email address)?”
  • “Yikes. We would be upset if that happened to us, too! We want to get to the bottom of this. Please contact us at (email address) so we can hear more.”
  • “(Name), we appreciate all feedback – whether it’s good or bad! Thank you for taking the time to share your recent experience with us. We would like to improve the situation. Can you please contact us at (email address or phone number)?”

I also think it’s a great personal touch to add your name to the end of your reply. If you’re the only employee in your business, or if your company name includes your personal name, I would maybe refrain from doing so. But, if you are a part of an organization with numerous employees, adding a “signature” to the end of your reply lets your customers know they are talking to a real person. They aren’t getting an automated, general response that is copy and pasted from the last customer complaint. Bonus tip: make your reply as personal as you can. Did they mention a certain item of clothing or specific meal? Include that in your response. These are great ways to show your company is transparent, genuine, and appreciative of their opinion.

On the other hand, there are a few circumstances where you should hide negativity on your social pages, such as:

  • Profanity
  • Harassment
  • Racial comments
  • Spam
  • Anything inappropriate, abusive, or harmful to someone

If the comment or review doesn’t contain anything from the list above, keep it public, and be willing to help. More often than not, customers are pleasantly surprised to get a message back from a business who is trying to help. Unhappy customers may just go to social media to vent or complain, but often times, they are not expecting a favor in return. Be sure to go out of your way to try to turn that unpleasant experience into a great one. Not to mention – this is also extremely important when future customers are viewing your page! Most EVERYONE does their research before purchasing from a new company – your social pages and websites are the first place they will look.

Oh, the joys of the internet! 🙂



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