Tips for Responding to Negative Feedback on Social Media

Good customer service doesn’t mean just looking after the happy customers – occasionally you are going to get a bad review but with careful handling this does not have to translate into a negative impact on your business. Keep the following tips in mind when handling unhappy customers on social media.


When a customer is unhappy they want to feel as though somebody is taking their concerns seriously. If possible, try to monitor mentions of your company, brand, and any hashtags you use so that you don’t miss any negativity. Then you need to ensure you have noted the specific concerns so that you can address these in your response.

Timely response

On social media, people notice just how quickly you respond to negative feedback. While it isn’t always possible to answer instantly, having a target time in place is a good idea. Larger companies can often have a member of staff continually monitoring feedback so that replies can be arranged quickly, but for smaller companies this isn’t always possible. Ensure that your opening hours are displayed on your Facebook page and other important social media accounts, so that those who do leave negative feedback when you aren’t around won’t expect an immediate answer. During opening hours, unfortunately, taking more than a couple of hours to respond is seen as being dismissive and studies show that most members of the public expect you to reply within an hour.

Be helpful and genuine

Ensure that when you do respond there is no negativity on your side. Apologize for the problem and ask the right questions to establish any further facts that you need to address the issue. Avoid using a standard response to all complaints and make sure that your answers are tailored to the individual complaint.

Give a public response

Don’t instantly move to a private response when somebody makes a public complaint. Remember that other people have already seen the complaint and it is not just the complainant that you need to communicate with. Apologize first and if you can answer the question or complaint right away, do so before offering to communicate directly with the complainant privately. If the complaint resolution means finding out personal or sensitive information then you should apologize and then tell the complainant that you are going to send them a private message for further discussion.

Not all negativity needs a response

There is a difference between a real concern written by a customer and trolling. There are people who regularly make negative comments online just to antagonize people so if the comments are just aggressive or insulting for no apparent reason, then it is okay to just let them go. You could post that you have a policy on this type of comment and warn people in advance that these may be removed. However, it is advised that you should be wary about deleting comments as this could incite further issues and further angry comments. On Facebook, you can hide the comment, so only certain people can actually see it and this will ensure that your loyal and honest customers are only exposed to genuine comments.