Should You Respond to Negative Feedback on Facebook?

October 20th, 2016

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So you’ve finally gotten the swing of Facebook. And things are going really well. You’re posting some killer content. You’re engaging with your followers. People are liking your posts. Or, better yet, they’re pressing that little heart and loving them. Or, even better yet, they’re sharing them with their friends.

So, yeah, you hate to brag, but things are going really well for you on Facebook.

But then one day, you get a notification that you weren’t expecting.

Or maybe you see it in an email from Facebook that just says “See Who Reviewed Your Page.”

Or, worse, maybe you get a text from someone you work with or someone you know, saying, “Hey, you really need to go check out your Facebook page.”

Your stomach drops. You have no idea what to expect. So you log in, and then you see it.

It’s a negative comment. Or a bad review.

Maybe it’s just some honest feedback, some constructive criticism. Or maybe it’s just downright mean. But what do you do now? Your first instinct might be to hide that negative comment or bad review. After all, social media is meant to be a highlight reel, right? Wrong. At least, not for businesses.

That’s why today we’re going to talk about the Who, What, When, Why of Replying to Negative Feedback on Facebook.

How do we deal with negative feedback on Facebook? Or any social media platform, really, but today we’re just going to talk about Facebook. This is a really common question that we get from clients and friends, and I just knew I had to make a podcast for it.

WHO

First, let’s talk about who might be leaving the negative feedback on Facebook, and who you should reply to.

First, you have your actual customers. These are the people you are actually serving. It might be an isolated problem expressed by an individual, or maybe it’s a widespread problem expressed by many people in comments or complaints. If it’s an individual, provide an appropriate response, and do your best to take the conversation offline. Direct them to a customer service phone number or email. And if it’s a more widespread problem, a comment or video from management with an explanation (and solution!) might be more appropriate.

Second, maybe the negative interaction isn’t even directed to you or your business. Maybe it’s between fans who are in a dreaded comment war. If this is the case, and a few of your fans are debating, you don’t necessarily have to get involved. Unless things start getting hateful or inappropriate, in which case it’s okay to jump in, delete offensive comments and block abusive users.

And lastly, maybe the negative feedback you received just doesn’t make sense. Maybe it contains inappropriate content that has nothing to do with your brand or misplaced profanity. Or maybe it’s a chain letter or is just so clearly off topic you know it wasn’t meant for your page. These are what we call trolls. If you are sure the negative feedback is from a spam account or troll, it is absolutely okay to delete these comments and block these spam users.

To summarize, though, customers—either individuals or groups—expressing legitimate concerns or experiences…you should absolutely leave them on your page, reply to them and provide a solution.

WHAT

Now that we’ve covered the WHO, let’s move on to the WHAT, as in WHAT should you say in response to negative feedback?

You could fire back, guns a’blazin’, and though this might be tempting, I think we can all agree that saying “You’re tacky, and I hate you” isn’t providing an ideal customer experience.

Start by saying Thank you. Thank you for your feedback. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Then, express your apologies. We’re sorry you’ve had this experience. We’re sorry to hear that. This isn’t the experience we want our customers to have.

Then, move the conversation offline. Call us here. Email us here.

Then, promise to provide a solution. We will work with you personally. We’d like to investigate this further. Let’s discuss how we can fix the issue.

Then, thank them again. Thank you again for your feedback. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Then–and this is crucial–actually help them. It’s not enough to reply and go on with your day. As soon as the customer contacts you, be prepared to have a solution for them and to provide the customers with the experience you do want them have. Otherwise, I guarantee they comment again, and the problem will get even bigger.

I highly recommend keeping a list of appropriate responses on hand at all times for your team to use. It makes it easier to respond when these issues arise, which brings us to our next point.

WHEN

As in When should you respond?

IMMEDIATELY. ASAP. ALL BOLD ALL CAPS. RESPOND AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

But really, the longer a negative comment or review sits there, it really festers. You know how people say guests are like bad fish—they start to smell after three days? Well, negative comments are worse. My point is, as soon as you see a negative comment, reply immediately, reply appropriately, reply professionally, and most importantly, reply sincerely.

WHY

And now we’re at our last point, the WHY. Why do you respond to negative comments or reviews publicly? Why do you leave them on your page?

Not only will this help you resolve the customer’s issue right away, but your other customers will also see how seriously you take their concerns. It shows them that you really do care and also that you’re prepared to remedy the situation and make any wrongs right.