How to Deal with Negative Comments on Social Media

No one likes to see less than flattering comments about them or their business posted online for all the world to see. If it's happened to you, I bet your first reaction was to want to delete it!

In most cases, one of the worst things a business can do is ignore or delete a negative comment – if handled well, it's possible to create even stronger customer loyalty! I bet you can think of at least one service or product where there was a problem and the resolution went above and beyond your expectations (Microsoft and Dell are the ones that jump to mind for me personally). 

Negative comments

  • Don’t delete!
  • Always tell the person you appreciate that they took the time to contact you
  • If the issue is straightforward or has a standard solution you can deal with it directly online
  • If the issue is more complex or you need further information, ask them to email you directly so that you can resolve the issue

Have a couple of “standard” responses prepared ahead of time so that you’re not worried about what to say or how to say it. Here is an example:

Thank you for your comment/feedback – I’m sorry about [the issue]. Can you please email me at [email] so we can discuss how best to resolve your concerns? I always strive to exceed customer expectations and look forward to receiving your email.

Inappropriate or offensive comments

In rare instances where behavior becomes offensive or abusive it is perfectly fine to remove and block individuals as long as the action and reason behind it is explained. 

Make sure that you have decided (as part of your social media policy) what the line is between ‘negative’ and ‘offensive’ so that you and your employees can be consistent about dealing with these comments. If one comment gets deleted and another, similar comment is allowed to stay people *will* notice. A straightforward example is profanity - you may be OK with swearing and wouldn’t consider it offensive if it appeared on your page, but the next person may have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to language.

  • Take a screenshot of the comment, record any details about the user
  • Reply with your policy on offensive behaviour and indicate that the comment will be deleted
  • Delete!
  • If the behaviour continues you can choose to block and/or report the user

Have an “appropriate use” disclaimer prepared ahead of time. You may even want to publish this somewhere online for easy reference. A great example comes from the Regina Police Service Facebook page.

Remember: the goal is to be prepared so that you don't panic when something "bad" happens :)