How to Handle Negative ​Feedback on Social Media

Here’s the reality of it. If you provide a product or a service and have social media platforms, you have gotten or will get bad review or unpleasant comment from time to time.

You’ve been on social – you’ve seen how people find it so easy to be rude and express their opinions freely behind a screen. But don’t you worry. It’s not the end of the world. The mistake that might have caused that review isn’t the actual issue to focus on here.  What you need to focus on is how you handle the situation.

Here are the five simple steps to follow when handling negative feedback on social media:

 1. Answer publicly 

Always – and I repeat – always, answer the concern publicly.  Right then and there, on your social media account, for EVERYONE to see, reply to that person’s negative comment. But before you answer, go on to step number two . . .

2. Structure your response carefully

Think of the best and friendliest customer service experience you have had. remember it?  Great – now write your response as that friendly customer service representative would.  What I’m trying to say is that your response should be friendly, apologetic and vaguely address the problem.  Remember, you are responding publicly, so everyone will be able to see your response.

But why did I say address the problem vaguely? We’ll come to that in step four.

3. Take it offline

When structuring your public response the goal is to always give them an option to take the conversation offline. So suggest for them to DM you to “further discuss” or maybe give them a phone number to call, or give them an email address.

Here, you get bonus points if you can give them a direct line and the name of a customer service rep (or you) that can help them with solving their concern. Personalizing is a great touch!

4. Address the problem

In step two, I suggested to address the problem vaguely in order to recognize it publicly once you take the conversation offline, you can address the specific problem with more detail and in a “private” setting

When you address the problem, remember to be kind with your response and offer something for their inconvenience – maybe a percentage off for their next purchase, a special promo code, some sort of refund.  Remember – you attract more bees with honey 😉

5. Be timely

All negative feedback should be addressed as soon as possible and no longer than 24 hours. You want to show your customers and potential customers that you really care about their experience.  And hey – you aren’t perfect. Mistakes happen – but you are more than willing to go out of your way to make those mistakes right and to make sure that they are satisfied with your service or product.

So if you take the 5 steps above, your public response could look something like this:
Bob, thank you for reaching out.  We are terribly sorry that (the issue with the product/service) happened. We understand that you hoped to receive a quality (experience/service/product) for your purchase. If you don’t mind, would you please be able to send us a direct message (or email, call, etc), so we can work with you directly to solve this issue?  Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and hope to hear from you so we can right this wrong.  Thanks again.


So what now?

  • Even if you haven’t had any negative feedback on your social media platforms, it’s a good idea to have a couple of saved negative-feedback statements at hand so that you can use in the future.  Write up two or three feedback statements that you can use the moment you get a negative comment.  Make sure to leave some blanks within the statements where you can fill in some information about the customer and then save them.  That way, you are ready to address the issue publicly the moment it happens.
  • Also, take a look at how your competitors are handling negative feedback.  Go on their social platforms and see how fast they response, what they response, and how the customer reacts to their response.  Learn from what seems to have worked and also learn what NOT to do from the things that seem not to work.