Everyone experiences trolls, negative comments, and bad reviews. How you handle each is important. Dealing with each of these is a little bit different and I want to make sure you know the options available to you.
Let’s be clear that a negative comment is different than a bad review. Sometimes you just get these really weird, random comments and you’re not really sure how to handle it.
First things first, you can’t delete it. The exception to the rule is if it is profane or obscene, then absolutely you can delete it. Otherwise, it needs to stay up. Some comments are just so out there and weird that you might need to delete them, but if it’s just negativity about you or your business you need to leave it on your page. Why? Well, if you delete a negative comment that’s not very transparent. Also, it looks better for your company and your customer service if you deal with the comment instead of deleting it.
Secondly, you need to document those comments. If things escalate and you need to go to Facebook or any other platform and talk to them about having a user banned then you need to have proper documentation of your interactions. This protects you from having someone go back and edit their comments and try to act like you made the whole thing up.
Lastly, you need to decide if you want to respond to the comment or hide it. Hiding a comment is very different from deleting it. If you hide a comment, the person who posted it can still see it and so can all the administrators of the page. However, other visitors to your page will not be able to see the comment. If you are on the fence about what to do for a particular comment, hide it. This way the person who left the comment won’t get mad but the comment won’t tarnish your page.
To recap, when you get a negative comment, don’t delete it. Instead document it and then decide whether to respond or hide it. (Unless it’s super weird and has nothing to do with you or your business, then totally delete it.)
If you’ve been in business for more than a minute, you’re going to have to deal with bad reviews. Face it, you can’t make everybody happy. You’re not pie. Dealing with a negative review is more of a process.
If you don’t get anything else out of this blog, get this. The first thing you have to do is pay attention. Responding to your comments, reviews, and direct messages online is super critical. If you don’t respond, people think that you are not paying attention and you are not validating their feelings. You don’t want to have a bad review sitting out there for, heaven forbid, a week, 5 days, 6 months, without a response. Even worse is to have a review or comment absolutely raving about your business and you don’t engage with them at all. Be super careful and make sure you are always monitoring your page.
The second thing you want to do with a bad review is to decide if it is real. Some people will troll you just to troll you because they think it’s fun. Most of the people who give you this kind of hard time are not real. Sometimes they are so let’s talk about what to do with an actual negative review.
If the review is valid and you actually did something wrong then you need to respond. You need to do it quickly which can only happen if you’re paying attention like we talked about earlier. The longer it sits the worse it looks. Once you decide you need to respond, you need to decide if you are going to respond publicly or behind the scenes. It will look better if you are as public and transparent as possible when dealing with a negative review. Other clients will see this as much more positive if you are dealing with it in a public way.
When you respond, you have to be genuine. Recent studies have shown that Millennials, in particular, will unfollow a brand if they seem insincere and will even stop buying from that brand because of it. You need to sound genuinely concerned. As a business owner, if someone is saying something bad about your business, you should be genuinely concerned. Empathy, honesty, and sincerity are key. Don’t fight or lash out. Stay positive. Only address legitimate concerns.
Provide context. Context can mean everything when responding to a negative review. For example, if someone leaves a negative review because you weren’t able to get their shipment to them in one day it’s ok to respond with “I’m sorry we aren’t able to offer next day shipping. Our merchandise comes from overseas and it’s just not a possibility.” Don’t blame the customer but do give the facts in a positive, nonjudgemental way. Just be direct and leave no room for misinterpretation.
Get personal whenever possible. You will find you have over a 60% retention rate when you simply speak to your customer as if they were right there. For instance, you could say something like “I’m sorry Heather. You’re absolutely right. I’ll take care of that for you.”
Thank the reviewer for bringing it to your attention, especially if it’s real. Then, apologize if it’s your fault. If you did something wrong, say you’re sorry. None of this attitude like when you’re forced to apologize to your sibling so you say something like “I’m sorry that you’re mad” instead of “I’m sorry for what I did.” It doesn’t come across well. Just apologize and then ask them what they think the solution should be because most times people will ask for less than you are willing to give.You may be willing to give them their purchase for free when they might just want 20% off of their next purchase. Most people are super reasonable if you just talked to them and let them know what’s going on. If they are unreasonable you can always counter-offer. For the most part, most reasonable people will ask for a reasonable solution.
I cannot stress this enough. Write the response out first to make sure it’s not offensive before you post it. Sometimes, believe it or not, I can come across as blunt, direct, or even sarcastic. I need to write it out first and then proofread it or have someone else proofread it before I post it. Sometimes you can’t tell how something is going to sound until you read it. So before you go crazy and just start typing it out and hitting send, let someone proofread it for you. It could save you a lot of trouble later.
So, how do you deal with trolls? Trolls or people who are negative just to be negative. They literally get online just to give you a hard time. There are several ways to deal with trolls. I would tell you not to fall for it. If you engage a troll, they will keep coming back because they don’t have anything better to do. Don’t feed the trolls.
If you absolutely have to respond, you can use facts. You can diffuse it with humor. This is where you can totally be sarcastic and get away with it. If they continue to give you a hard time and it’s becoming problematic, block them. Almost every single platform has a block feature.
Another way to handle it, is to give it a minute because many times your community will come forward and handle it for you. If you have a happy community who loves you, they will come to your defense. Build that Community then trust that community. It’s super important.