Once you’ve been in business long enough and have amassed a significant customer base, eventually something you do will offend someone. Their reactions may even be justified.

They may even take to social media to complain about your actions. If that happens, address it immediately; never ignore it. When it comes to dealing with negative feedback, I always recommend taking a positive approach, including apologizing.

Here is how to properly apologize on 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. Say sorry

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 and 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.

What has worked for you in apologizing on social media? 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.

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