There are different types of negative feedback, ranging from legitimate concerns and complaints to random and unprovoked negativity aimed at your business.
Regardless of the reason behind it, seeing negative feedback for your business on social media can be a shock. Your first instinct might be to address the problem with strong language, or to delete the message and hope that the problem goes away. Neither of these is an approach you should take however.
Instead, you should take a few minutes and think things through. No matter what the situation, your response to a problem on social media is an immediately visible representation of your business – people are going to judge you and your business based on what you say, and how your responses work toward solving the issue at hand.
This is why you should think carefully and consider your response before making it public. Deleting a complaint or concern from your social media page / profile should be an absolute last resort, because this can easily be seen as avoiding the issue or attempting to silence those giving honest reviews. Neither of these perceptions improves the reputation of your business.
Next, you should look into the complaint or concern and determine if it is valid. This means if someone is posting that your product is junk or your services are terrible, look to see if they have ever purchased anything from you. If they have, you can work from there to resolve their issue. If they have not, you can address their problem from that angle.
If at all possible, try to take the discussion “offline” and out of the public eye. While it is good for others to see you working to resolve the problem, it is often better for any negotiations to occur in private. Simply make it clear that you are working towards a resolution with the party in question, and leave general customer service information that others can use if they have any similar complaints or concerns.
Above all you should do your best to be understanding of the other person’s situation. With the exception of unwarranted and unprovoked hostility, most negative feedback can be seen as constructive criticism. If you think of it this way, you can look for the clues the person has left you that can help you solve their problem and improve your business at the same time.
For example, if you get enough complaints about something, it might be time to address the problem at a brand level, rather than continuing to resolve individual complaints in the future.