Bad reviews and negative comments on social media can be extremely disheartening. With your entire life invested in your business, hearing about a poor experience can elicit a wide range of reactions. From an annoyed outburst or cynical quip to a dismissive retort or angry rant, every business owner experiences a spectrum of emotions when they read a negative review. The most important thing, though, is to remain calm and work towards a productive, mutually satisfactory resolution. In this post, we're going to give you five tips that will help you respond to negative social media comments and reviews.
1. Respond quickly
While it's important to respond quickly, before you do, you should take a moment to relax. Reacting emotionally can harm your business and, worse yet, confirm the initial commenter's claims in the eyes of your audience. A quick response will show how seriously you take negative experiences and how far you're willing to go to rectify them. Try to respond within an hour of seeing the message, however, remember that it's more important to be calm than quick.
2. Try to resolve the issue privately
If possible, reach out to the negative reviewer privately first, via email or telephone. Contacting reviewers personally tells them that there is nothing more important to you than addressing issues that customers have reported about your business. This is your opportunity to impress the reviewer so be sure to listen closely, understand their complaints and provide concrete steps that you will take to correct the source of their discontent.
3. Stay cordial
As we stated above, it's easy to become emotional about a negative social media comment. Reacting in an angry, sarcastic, flippant or disinterested way can drive away anyone else that may be reading the comment. The purpose of responding is damage control and if you cause more damage with your reply... you're doing it wrong. Always be polite, courteous and understanding but, most importantly, seek resolution rather than vindication.
4. Encourage positive reviews
If you can't resolve the issue, your best option is to reach out to your devoted customers. Put the solution in their hands by encouraging them to review or comment on your business. The goal isn't to discredit the bad reviewer but, rather, to show potential customers that one bad review doesn't define your business. Unfortunately, people are far more likely to post reviews after a negative experience than a positive one, so be sure to actively engage your customers and direct them to your social media and online review sites.
5. Make negative comments useful
As discouraging as they are, negative comments and reviews can help your business grow. It's easy to become blinded by the positive aspects of your business, use negative comments as a way to assess your practices and products. One of the best things to do after receiving a bad review is to focus on resolving the core issue by asking yourself, "What can I do to turn this around and keep it from occurring in the future?"
At Blue Fire Media, we know how difficult it can be to keep your cool in the face of negative press. Throughout the years, we've seen the highs and lows. We've seen business owners implode in the face of one bad review and, conversely, we've seen others turn them into opportunities to earn a new, lifelong customer. If you're interested in learning more about handling online reviews and social media marketing, contact us today and we'll be happy to discuss how we can help.