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4 Ways to Handle Negative Posts Online

October 25, 2012

A friend of mine recently called me freaking out about a negative post her company received on Yelp. My advice? “Don’t Panic.” A negative review is not the end of the world, but it is something that needs to be immediately addressed. Better yet, have a plan for this type of scenario already in place and you won’t need to go through the “freak out” stage if it does happen to you – you’ll simply spring into action. 
You could have the best customer service in the world as well as a superior product, and there will always be that one person who finds something to complain about… And they will do it (gasp!) online. Having a social media policy creates guidelines for how to respond when a customer posts something negative about your company or product. There are four basic ways to handle a negative post or comment:
1.       Answer the post – it shows your concern for customer issues and your willingness to make improvements where possible.
2.       Ask the person posting to contact you – this hopefully takes the conversation offline, but it still shows that you are responsive as a company. This can also be combined with #1.
3.       Delete the post, if possible – if the post was made on your Facebook page, for example, you could simply delete it; however, this could cause the user to leave additional angry posts, exacerbating the issue.
4.       Ignore the post – this is not recommended unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Responding to issues online and in the public view can help to alleviate the present issue, and can also work to prevent additional negativity on the Internet, which can quickly become a reputation management problem. A pro-active approach to combating negative posts is having great content that shows up in organic search results. This doesn’t happen overnight, though, so in the meantime, make sure you’re addressing customer issues as they come up – either in the real or virtual world. Paying attention to what your customers are saying is a good way to find out where you need to make system improvements and increase overall customer satisfaction.
Does your company have a social media or PR policy in place? How do you handle negative posts about your company online?