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Dealing with Online Feedback — Both Negative and Positive!

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There’s some important information you need to know when it comes to social media marketing for small businesses, and it starts with hearing from your customers. 

If you run a business, you’re probably no stranger to dealing with online feedback before — both positive and (more challenging) negative. Even with the best people and processes, sometimes customers just aren’t happy. But what if your unhappy customer takes their complaints online through sites like Yelp, Google, or Facebook? How do you handle those comments?

First off, take a deep breath. This is the time to keep your cool and follow a plan.

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Dealing with Negative Online Feedback

Responding to negative feedback is challenging. Getting negative feedback can make you feel frustrated, and the customer you’re responding to is probably not happy, either — a recipe for miscommunication. So before you respond, take a moment to assess the situation.

Should I delete the comment?

The answer to this is almost always NO. Deleting comments will often only add fuel to the fire, and it makes you look like you don’t care or have something to hide. The only time it’s okay to delete comments is if the person posts to the point of harassment/spam.

Should I respond?

The answer to this is almost always YES, especially considering 88% of consumers who have a complaint ignored on social media say they are less likely to buy from that company in the future. Responding can allow you to turn a customer’s bad experience into a positive one, and it allows you to control the message, rather than your upset customer. The only time you probably shouldn’t respond is if the person is clearly only trying to stir the pot or provoke a reaction — don’t feed the trolls!*

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How should I respond?

When responding to negative comments or reviews online, just think R.A.T.E.

Your responses should be:

  • Reliable: Respond consistently to negative feedback.
  • Accurate: Don’t guess. Gather information so your responses are accurate.
  • Timely: The faster you respond, the better, but don’t sacrifice accuracy for time.
  • Empathetic: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes — even if it’s hard!

This is not the place for cut-and-paste responses, either. You’ll want to tailor your responses to each customer so you come across as genuine and caring. Once you’ve responded, try to take the conversation offline. Offer an email address or phone number where the customer can reach you if further communication is needed.

Responding to Positive Online Feedback

It’s not all negative online, though. You’ve probably gotten positive feedback, too! And getting positive feedback online feels great. It’s good to know customers are happy with your business and feel good enough about it to tell others online. You certainly don’t want to ignore them.

Acknowledge the Positive Feedback

If someone has taken the time to leave a nice comment or write a positive review, acknowledge it, even if that just means liking their comment (but preferably leave a response thanking them for their feedback).

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Pass on the Positivity

If the positive feedback mentions a specific employee or group in your business, let them know! Everyone likes to know that their hard work is appreciated.

*A troll: Someone who purposely says something controversial in order to get a rise out of other users

Download a Guide for You to Keep

Did you find this social media marketing for small business information useful? Download a copy to keep handy when you need to respond to online feedback.

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