I was the guest pre­sen­ter this morn­ing at the The Orig­i­nal Leth­bridge Busi­ness Break­fast Club. I talked about my busi­ness and pro­vid­ed a few tips about suc­ceed­ing on social media. Dur­ing the Q&A peri­od at the end of my pre­sen­ta­tion, a few ques­tions focused on respond­ing to neg­a­tive feed­back on social media.

When it comes to deal­ing with neg­a­tive feed­back, I always rec­om­mend tak­ing a pos­i­tive approach.

Here are the 4 crit­i­cal com­po­nents for deal­ing with neg­a­tive social media.

1. Say thank you

Thank the cus­tomer for their feed­back. With­out their feed­back, it’d be dif­fi­cult for your com­pa­ny to improve its ser­vices and process­es.

Thanks for your feed­back and for com­ing to us with your con­cerns.

2. Take responsibility

Don’t blame oth­ers. Don’t ratio­nal­ize. Just take own­er­ship of what hap­pened.

Thanks for your feed­back and for com­ing to us with your con­cerns. It’s our fault your driver’s seat had a rip after you dropped off your car for detail­ing.

3. Apologize

Always apol­o­gize for what hap­pened, even if it wasn’t your fault. Don’t make emp­ty apolo­gies (e.g. I’m sor­ry you feel that way).

Thanks for your feed­back and for com­ing to us with your con­cerns. It’s our fault your driver’s seat had a rip after you dropped off your car for detail­ing. We’re sor­ry for our care­less­ness, and we’re sor­ry for how it has affect­ed you.

4. Ask for feedback on how to improve in the future

Ask­ing for con­struc­tive, pos­i­tive feed­back can help dif­fuse a tense, neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tion, and it can build the rela­tion­ship with your dis­grun­tled cus­tomer.

It’s our fault your driver’s seat had a rip after you dropped off your car for detail­ing. We’re sor­ry for our care­less­ness, and we’re sor­ry for how it has affect­ed you. What sug­ges­tions do you have that can help us avoid this unfor­tu­nate error from hap­pen­ing in the future?

It’s going to be tempt­ing to be defen­sive, to min­i­mize your error, or to even prove the cus­tomer wrong. Don’t do it. This often caus­es the sit­u­a­tion to esca­late, and esca­la­tion may lead to an out-of-con­trol sit­u­a­tion.

Pos­i­tive respons­es focused on repair­ing the rela­tion­ship with your cus­tomer will show oth­ers that you val­ue your cus­tomer rela­tion­ships more than you val­ue your rep­u­ta­tion. In actu­al­i­ty, this sort of action will have a pos­i­tive effect on your rep­u­ta­tion.

Now, all this being said, some­times you have to use your dis­cre­tion. Occa­sion­al­ly, you may find your­self deal­ing with trolls: peo­ple who are  inter­est­ed only in stir­ring up trou­ble and are unlike­ly to ever become a client. In that case, pos­i­tive feed­back may not do any­thing and may even encour­age them to con­tin­ue. You’ll need to deter­mine whether the feed­back you receive is gen­uine or sim­ply some­one want­i­ng to stir up trou­ble. Nev­er con­fuse the two.

What has worked for you in respond­ing to neg­a­tive social media feed­back? Let me know in the com­ments below.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Sign up to receive monthly writing and social media tips.

Thanks for signing up for our monthly writing tips!

Pin It on Pinterest