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How to handle negative reviews on social media for your business

By Dane Thomson

· Tips

As a business owner, it’s your worst nightmare; you have clicked on to your Business Facebook Page to see that out of the blue, you’ve been left a scathing review about your business …

The review gives a totally different account of customer service you have recently provided. It has been shared 113 times to date and the comments are flooding in …

You’re thinking ‘What on earth do I do here?’ and you start to panic …

STOP!

As tempting as it is to reply immediately or to try and delete it to avoid more damage being done, you must stop and think first about the course of action you’re going to take and (as hard as it is!) do not take it personally. It’s the service you’ve delivered they’re unhappy with, not *you*.

Let’s say you’re a Health and Safety consultancy and you’ve just received a negative review that goes like this:

'I am FURIOUS with Bill from Health and Safety Co! He was late. He has damaged one of office walls from fitting a new fire extinguisher! I would urge everyone to AVOID using Health and Safety Co! Bunch of incompetent crooks!' Martha Thomas, EH6 Offices

 

Here’s what to do:

Step 1 - Respond to the review - try and find a solution with the client

You must reply to this review as the longer it is left, the longer inaccurate information will spread.

Respond to the review by firstly restating the complaint to show you have listened to what they are saying.

You can say something like this:

'Hi Martha, I am sorry to hear you’re unhappy with the service our colleague, Bill provided you. Timekeeping and taking care of our client’s premises are something we take very seriously. As one of our most valued clients, I would like to put this right for you. Can you please email me at jim@healthandsafetyco.com and I will reply immediately so we can discuss this matter further and come to a solution.'

 

Notice here you’re now in the customer's shoes. No excuses were made, instead you focussed on showing you’ve listened to what they have said and putting it right.

Step 2 - Assess the situation - see what the client is saying now

With the above reply, this can now go one of two ways …

One - The email is sent. You then deal with the complaint offline and it is then resolved. Timekeeping issue is addressed and the wall is fixed. (go to Step 3)

Two - The client refuses to take the issue offline and continues to share and vent.

If the client refuses to take the issue offline, you can do the following:

Reiterate your offer of putting things right

'Hi Martha, I am sorry to hear you’re still unhappy with the service our colleague, Bill provided you. As discussed in my last reply, timekeeping and taking care of our clients premises are something we take very seriously. As one of our most valued clients, I would still like to put this right for you. Can you please email me at jim@healthandsafetyco.com and I will reply immediately so we can discuss this matter further and come to a solution. Our priority is to make this right for you.'

 

If the client still refuses to take the issue offline and reply becoming even more aggressive (including threats), you can do the following:

Report the review to Facebook. Facebook will remove the review if it doesn’t meet their community standards.

If Facebook doesn’t remove the review and comments on it keep flooding in, you can do the following:

Publicly share a post reiterating the highest standards you work towards and mention the happy clients who have benefitted from your service.

'Here at Health and Safety Co, we work tirelessly for you, our valued customers to provide the highest standards of health and safety advice and assistance. With over 20 years experience and over 5000 visits a year, we accept that there are times when things don’t go to plan. We recently had an experience with a client who was very unhappy with our service. We have been in touch with them directly to apologise and have offered to put the complaint right.

Since then, the client in question has continued to share their frustrations about us on social media with over 1,200 of you sharing a post which doesn’t give the full story.

Since the complaint was lodged with us, we have taken the following actions:

  • Assessed our team members workloads to ensure they have more time between call outs to avoid them being late in future
  • Reviewed how we are installing fire extinguishers to avoid damage being done to the walls and surrounding areas in future

We wanted to take the opportunity to share our side of the story and thank you for being loyal customers.

We trust this is the end of the matter and welcome you to get in touch if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at jim@healthandsafetyco.com'

Step 3 - Learn from the review - make any recommended changes in the business

As illustrated in the above example social media post, it’s crucial to take the feedback on board and where necessary make changes in the business.

In this example scenario, since the review was left, the following changes were made:

  • Assessed team member workloads to ensure they have more time between call outs to avoid them being late in future
  • Reviewed how they are installing fire extinguishers to avoid damage being done to the walls and surrounding areas in future

Taking this approach will effectively and professionally manage reviews. When it comes to reviews on social media for your business, it is crucial to be professional but human. As frustrating as it can be, it’s important to never delete them, as how you deal with them is ultimately what other clients pay attention to.

I hope this blog has helped you. Its focus is to help you confidently manage the 'once in a blue moon' negative social media reviews.

Streets Ahead Social exists to teach SMEs like yours how to use and build relationships with the clients you want using social media.

I offer a free, no-obligation 20-30 minute consultation 📞💻 to chat through your social media headaches and recommend the right Streets Ahead Social service (s) to help solve your problems.

Get in touch with me to book your free consultation.

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