Responding to Negative Feedback on Social Media

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“It takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it”.

Expectations for customer care on social media have increased year on year with a requirement for businesses to respond to enquiries, issues and complaints quickly and effectively. This is due to an increasing number of customers wanting to fully resolve a problem when they’re engaging with a brand on social media. A clear customer service procedure is vital for all companies no matter how big or small.

How to monitor Social Media Effectively?

It’s important that all social media accounts for your company are monitored daily to pick up any negative mentions and reviews. No matter what the complaint or comment, other users will not know the history of a situation and will simply judge your business based on the message and your responses. This is your opportunity to show your brand values, tone of voice and customer service to help reduce any negative exposure of your business and show how effectively and quickly you deal with customer concerns. Responses that are not replied to can be seen by new customers as negative, which can have an adverse impact on your business. It is also important that you do not delete or ignore any negative comments online as this can infuriate people and cause them to further complain and develop negative conversations about your brand on social media.

Here are a few tips to make sure you find all mentions of your business across all platforms…

  1. Download the social media apps onto your phone/tablet and keep logged in. You will then receive notifications where your business has been tagged in.
  2. Set up an email address that goes to the key people in your business involved in customer service responses so they can reply instantly.
  3. Use a social media monitoring tool to help you track brand mentions and notifications of all your platforms. Tools such as Sprout, social mention or Talk walker are useful.
  4. Do a simple site search in each social media channel to find posts relevant to your brand.



Hours not days – don’t give it time to escalate, try to shut it down or take it offline. Customers go to social media to get a quick response from someone. You therefore need to try and direct the conversation to your customer support team or into private messaging as soon as possible to ensure that the complaint doesn’t escalate.



You need to decide who should monitor your social media accounts and whether they are the best person to respond to a customer complaint. Whilst you will need someone with experience in managing customer expectations, monitoring accounts can take up a lot of someone’s time. Therefore, you could ask a more junior member of the team to monitor any activity and pass on the details when there is a complaint that requires a response or work together as a team to tackle the social media as it is very time consuming.


How to respond…

  1. Collect the relevant contact information and details about their complaint. This will help you to determine who best in the company to talk to regarding the situation and develop a response.
  2. Respond to the customer notifying them that the complaint has been passed on to the relevant person and tell them when they can expect a reply.
  3. Pass on all relevant details to the team to generate a response, or to contact the customer directly.


Writing a response:

Within your tone of voice, you should not be too corporate, or use too many stock responses as it looks like you are not human, which can frustrate your customers when they receive the message. Ensure you look at the following…

  1. Respond specifically to the issues brought up by the customer.
  2. Provide a specific apology that acknowledges any mistakes at your end.
  3. State exactly what you intend to do (or have already done) to make it right.
  4. Propose how you will improve the customer’s experience in the future.