how to respond to negative comments

Five Steps to Responding to Negative Comments on Social

This is a sample post using hypothetical reviews and responses.  This post is for academic purposes only.

It is of the utmost importance for a company or brand to maintain a positive reputation online.  Negative comments that go unaddressed or unresolved have an undesirable effect on image, customer loyalty and product sales.  Because of this influence, company’s should monitor their profiles daily and reply quickly to comments that merit direct responses.

When a negative comment or review does occur, these steps should be followed to diffuse the situation:

1. Respond in a timely manner

Time is of the essence.  A quick response could be the difference between making a problem worse and eliminating it entirely.  Your response will determine if the consumer will change their mind about your brand.  Be sure to respond on the same channel the comment was originally posted on and never, never ignore a negative post.

2. Apologize & take responsibility

Apologize to the consumer for their experience if it is warranted.  Claim responsibility and own up to what occurred if it was wrong.  Do not argue with the customer or get into too many details.

3. Provide a solution

Explain what your company is doing to fix the situation or provide an alternate solution.  Attempt to turn this negative experience into a positive marketing opportunity, where applicable. Do not offer free or discounted services on a public forum or you will open your brand up to the expectation that every complaint will be resolved in that fashion.

4. Take it out of the public eye

Ask the consumer to contact you privately to resolve the issue.  Private details of the customer should be safeguarded such as account numbers, addresses and other personal information. Be aware anything you discuss offline or in a private message or email could still end up back online if the consumer chooses to share the result.  .

5. Be authentic

Show the consumer you’re listening and you care about their situation.  Do not respond with canned scripts.  Make reference to specific details they shared.

Continue to create positive content for your page.  This will ensure the negative post doesn’t remain at the top of your feed.  Be sure you are also responding to the positive comments as well.  Thank those customers for their support and encourage them to try more of your products.  Help them discover new products offered by your brand.


Here are two sample reviews and responses where these tips are applied:



Dear Luv2TravelwithHubby,

We sincerely apologize that you were disappointed with your stay.  Let me first assure you that your experience was not typical at Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina nor was it within the service quality standards we expect of ourselves.  We clearly dropped the ball.  Please private message me to discuss further.  We’d love to invite you back, before your 20 year high school reunion, to experience a proper stay at our resort. We are confident that we can do better and provide you with accommodations that outclass camping on the beach – although the beaches in Ft. Lauderdale are gorgeous.

Melissa FF.

Social Media Manager

Hyatt-example2015 (1)

Dear Travelwith3Kiddos,

Thank you for an outstanding review and for your repeat business. If we have the pleasure to serve you in the future, be sure to request a pool view room and maybe try an 80 minute massage for extended relaxation.  Being family friendly is very important to Hyatt and we welcome any recommendations from our youngest guests.  If you stay with us in the summer months, please check out the Mermaid Academy.  We also offer onsite bike rentals year round.