How to Respond to Negative Facebook Comments in 6 Easy Steps

No business likes to receive negative feedback or negative reviews from customers, especially when it’s in the public sphere, such as on Facebook. How you respond to and deal with these comments can be crucial to improving your customer service and protecting your brand’s reputation.

If you receive less than favourable comments on Facebook, here’s how you should respond in six easy steps…

Step 1: Don’t panic

Okay, so a disgruntled customer has left a complaint (or worse) on your Facebook page for the world to see. That’s not good, but there’s certainly no need to panic.

In fact, this can actually be an opportunity for you to turn a customer service fail into a customer service win.

Yes, other potential customers have seen that someone has had an issue with your product or service, but there’s not a business in the world that hasn’t had a complaint directed at them for one reason or another. By demonstrating a willingness to resolve the problem you can provide reassurance to others that if something goes wrong you’ll sort it out promptly.

Step 2: Respond in the right way

It’s important that you respond to a complaint left on Facebook quickly - a slow response, or a complete lack of one could do more damage than the complaint itself - but it’s even more important that you respond in the right way.

Your response will depend largely on the nature of the comment. If it is a complaint about a product or service that has clearly fallen below expectations, then you need to demonstrate empathy and understanding, however you should avoid making any promises in regards to resolving the issue at this early stage.

Never seek to diminish the customer’s complaint or come across as suspicious of the issue. Even if you don’t agree with the complaint always respond and remember, you’re in a public forum, so treat every complaint with respect.

If the comment is aggressive or abusive, do not respond with the same tone. It’s worth taking your time and ensuring your reply is on-brand.

Step 3: Take it offline

Your initial response to a Facebook complaint should publically demonstrate that you regret that the customer is unsatisfied but, if further communication is necessary, it’s best to try and take it offline to conduct it in private.

Leave the public response before messaging the customer privately to ask for further details about the problem. If the conversation is conducted publically this might do more harm than good.

This doesn’t apply to every situation, for example if the issue can be resolved simply by replying with more information, so use your best judgement.

There are a few ways you can strike up a conversation with your follower privately. Either click into their profile and send them a direct message there, or use Facebook’s Business Manager feature and click ‘Message’ within their comment to send them a private message relating to that comment.

Step 4: Hiding or deleting comments, or banning followers?

Never ‘Hide’ and ignore, or delete complaints or problems that have been raised by your customers - your lack of a response will only make sure they never buy from you again, as well as potentially bad mouthing you to all of their friends and family. There’s also nothing stopping them from simply posting progressively more angry comments until you simply ban them, but ultimately that’s not solving the problem.

However, after you have hidden a comment you can still respond to it. This might be preferable for instances where inappropriate language has been used by the customer, or if they are speaking disparagingly regarding a third-party brand that you retail, and you want to limit the complaint’s impact on them.

If the comment is abusive in nature and unrelated to an actual complaint, simply hiding it might be enough, although it will still be visible to that person’s friends. You can delete the comment entirely after hiding it, and/or ban them from posting on your page again if you think that’s necessary.

Step 5: Keep checking back

Once you’ve responded to the complaint keep checking back regularly to make sure you don’t miss a follow-up response from the consumer - even if you think the problem has been resolved.

All admins of your company page should receive notifications of any activity, but if there’s an ongoing conversation between you and a customer, make sure you double check.

Step 6: Escalate?

From time to time, a complaint left on Facebook will need to be escalated, and it’s important that you’re able to identify when this is the case as soon as possible to avoid the issue being dragged out longer than necessary.

If the problem needs to be taken higher then make sure you get as many of the details as possible and request the customer’s contact details so the relevant person can get back in touch with them.

As I already mentioned, the key here is to view this as an opportunity to demonstrate your customer service credentials, not to panic and pretend there isn’t a problem. Customer service isn’t about delivering perfect products and services every time, but about how you respond when things don’t go so well.

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