Customer Service

How to deal with negative customer reviews on social media

Ufuoma Uvomata
June 13, 2023
Contents

Nobody wants to get dragged on social media but when the situation is handled right, it can be an opportunity to show the world how your company handles difficult situations with customers. 

Online platforms and social media have given consumers a powerful voice to express their opinions and experiences with brands. Positive reviews build trust and attract new customers, but what about negative reviews? 

Unresolved negative feedback can be detrimental as it can harm a brand's image and drive customers away.

However, you should view feedback, even if it is negative, as a learning experience. Negative feedback can be a key driver in helping you improve, and the proper perspective can turn negative criticism into a positive conversation. 

The way your business responds to feedback, both positive and negative, is an essential aspect of growth. A growth mindset involves learning from criticism and using it as a great starting point to improve your company. 

In this article, we will discuss the types of feedback that any local business may encounter and show you new skills on how to handle them.

Types of negative feedback.

1. Critical feedback.

Critical feedback comes when a person expresses their dissatisfaction with a product or service. Such feedback can provide valuable insight into areas that need improvement and serve as a great starting point for making necessary changes.  

It is the opposite of positive feedback. Positive feedback is when someone expresses their satisfaction with the product or service they received. It is important to seek primarily positive feedback, but it is inevitable that you will receive negative feedback as well.

Instead of seeing critical feedback as a personal attack, business owners should adopt a growth mindset and recognize it as an opportunity for learning and growth. Respond to negative feedback in a positive and constructive manner to turn an angry customer into a loyal customer.

2. Complaints.

Complaints are more detailed feedback, often with a specific issue that the person encountered. Customers may voice their dissatisfaction with a specific aspect of their experience, such as poor customer service, late delivery, or product defects. 

When they lead to lasting solutions, complaints can have a positive impact by helping your company improve.  

Respond immediately with a sincere apology to show that the company is self-aware and willing to rectify the situation. Offering a solution and requesting additional feedback helps turn a negative experience into a positive conversation.

3. False or exaggerated claims.

It is important to keep in mind that not all negative feedback is truthful. Unfortunately, false or exaggerated claims can occasionally appear in negative feedback. This feedback may contain inaccurate information or unfounded allegations about a product or service. Sometimes, the customer simply may not be on the same page as the business.

When encountering such feedback, respond calm, professional, and positive way. Address the issue directly and ask the client to provide more details to know if they have a different perspective from yours. If the claims are false, provide evidence to support your position clearly and politely.

Possible reasons behind a negative review.

Understanding the reasons behind negative feedback can show you areas that need improvement and help you enhance your products, services, and customer experiences. Here are three common reasons for receiving negative feedback from customers

1. Product or service issues.

Customers expect quality, value, and functionality from their purchases, and if these expectations are not met, they may feel disappointed and express their dissatisfaction through negative feedback. Unhappy customers are more likely to leave bad reviews if they feel blindsided by a problem.

It's important for every business to receive feedback and view negative feedback as constructive criticism to help make things better for future clients. Whether it's a faulty product, inadequate service, or subpar performance, addressing these issues promptly and effectively is crucial for growth.

To handle negative feedback about your product or service, start by acknowledging the issue and apologizing sincerely for any inconvenience caused. Offer a solution or resolution that demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction. 

Implement necessary improvements to prevent similar issues in the future. Respond to negative feedback and make changes to help you turn negative comments into positive reviews.

2. Customer service problems.

Customer service plays a significant role in shaping customer experiences. Even the best products and services can be overshadowed by poor service.

Unhelpful or unresponsive support agents can leave customers feeling frustrated and undervalued. Poor communication, long response times, and rude behavior are some common customer service problems that can lead to a negative review. 

Train each support staff to be an effective communicator and handle difficult feedback as a supportive friend to customers. They should respond to negative feedback promptly and show empathy and understanding toward the customer's concerns. Apologize for any inconvenience and offer a resolution.

Regularly evaluate your customer service processes and identify areas for improvement.

3. Misunderstandings or miscommunications.

Sometimes, customers may have misinterpreted product descriptions or had different expectations from what was delivered. There can be miscommunications during interactions with customers, such as unclear instructions or misinformation, which can lead to dissatisfaction and negative comments.

Make sure your customers understand your process because even the best efforts can result in a bad review if a client misunderstands what they are getting.

You can clear misunderstandings by acknowledging the issue and apologizing for any confusion. Take responsibility for any misunderstandings and avoid blaming the customer. Encourage open dialogue and ask for clarification if there is a potential misunderstanding.

Avoid miscommunication altogether by clearly communicating product details, features, and limitations. Ensure that instructions and policies are easily accessible and understandable.

End conversations by showing appreciation for customers' feedback and their role in helping you improve.

Key strategies and best practices for responding to negative feedback.

1. Promptness and timeliness.

The first step in handling negative feedback is to respond immediately. Customers want to feel heard and valued, and a prompt response shows that you care about their concerns. 

Respond quickly to prevent the issue from escalating and show that you're proactive in resolving the problem. Monitor review sites and social media platforms regularly to stay informed and act swiftly.  

2. Calm and empathetic tone.

When crafting your reply, maintain a calm and empathetic tone, even if the review is hostile or unfair. Speaking with anger or defensiveness can escalate the situation and damage your reputation.

Put yourself in the customer's shoes and acknowledge their feelings. Show empathy and understanding by validating their concerns. Communicate with compassion and professionalism to help defuse tense situations and show that you genuinely care about resolving the issue.

3. Personalization and individual attention.

Avoid generic messages and strive for personalization when responding to negative feedback. Address the client by name and refer to the specific issue they raised. Tailor your reply to their unique situation to show that you took the time to read their review.

Personalization fosters a sense of connection and demonstrates your commitment to addressing their specific needs. You can use Simpu’s customer experience software to manage your customer data and make it easy to personalize your communication with clients.

4. Offering solutions and assistance.

Instead of simply apologizing, provide practical solutions and assistance to address the customer's concerns. Provide options that can solve the issue and prevent it from happening again.

Offering a discount or a refund can go a long way in showing the client that you value their patronage and care about their experience. By actively engaging in problem-solving, you indicate your willingness to make things right and restore the customer's confidence in your business.

5. Taking the conversation offline.

While you need to respond publicly to negative feedback, you should also encourage the customer to continue the conversation privately. Take the conversation offline by providing contact information or directing them to a dedicated support channel.

Make this process easier by using Simpu to manage multiple support channels simultaneously and allow clients to reach you where they are most comfortable. This allows for a more personal and confidential conversation that prevents further escalation.

6. Tracking and measuring the impact of responses on customer satisfaction and brand perception.

Monitor the impact of your responses on customer satisfaction and brand perception. Keep track of the changes in overall sentiment after addressing negative feedback. Pay attention to metrics such as feedback, online ratings, and retention rates. 

By measuring the effectiveness of your feedback responses, you can adapt and refine your strategies for better results. Simpu makes it easy for any business to track changes in customer satisfaction over time. This provides a bigger picture of what's working and what's not. 

Customer rating for customer service reps
source

7. Avoiding arguments and heated exchanges.

Maintain a professional and courteous tone throughout your response, even in the face of unjust criticism. Avoid engaging in arguments or heated exchanges with clients at all costs. Remember that your response is visible to the public, and potential clients are observing how you handle difficult situations. 

Always stay calm and empathetic and avoid taking the feedback personally. Speaking with kindness and understanding can turn negative reviews into positive ones and show customers that you are committed to exceptional customer service.

8. Learning from negative reviews and making improvements.

Companies who have received negative feedback should see it as an opportunity to grow and improve their business. A business owner should be like a loving parent who learns from mistakes and make meaningful improvements to meet people’s needs.

Embracing feedback and making necessary changes can help your business thrive in the long run. It gives you an excellent understanding of your customer's pain points and makes necessary adjustments to your products, services, or processes.

A smart business owner would encourage clients to give you as much constructive feedback as possible. You can easily collect, store, manage, and analyze all your customer feedback on your Simpu platform. 

Example of trending social media customer confrontation.

Jumia

Jumia, an e-commerce platform operating in various African countries faced social media backlash when customers accused them of selling counterfeit products. Customers took to Twitter and Facebook to share their experiences and demand better quality control.

The company responded by investigating the claims, refunding affected customers, and strengthening their verification process for sellers to ensure the authenticity of products. They also implemented a robust return and refund policy to protect customer interests and enhance trust in their platform.

DStv (Multichoice) 

DStv, a popular digital satellite television service provider in Africa, received criticism on social media in 2015 when customers complained about poor customer service and billing issues.

DStv responded by actively engaging with customers on social media platforms, addressing individual concerns, and providing personalized support. They established a dedicated helpline and online portal to streamline complaint resolution.

They also improved their billing systems, making efforts to minimize errors and enhance transparency. By actively handling negative feedback and implementing necessary changes, they aimed to improve their brand reputation, their customer satisfaction, and boost financial outcomes.

In conclusion, as a business owner, receiving feedback is an essential part of growth, but it can be challenging when you receive negative ones. Keep in mind that every person makes mistakes whenever they receive criticism. 

Respond to negative feedback by sending personalized practical solutions that show customers that you genuinely care about their concerns and are committed to delivering exceptional service. 

When you’re receiving negative feedback, use the key strategies for managing constructive criticism because it's extremely important to handle it the right way.

Ufuoma Uvomata
Content Writer
Ufuoma is a writer who creates website copy, SEO articles, scripts, blog posts, and short stories for companies in several industries. If you meet her, ask about her plants.

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