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The Blog

Responding to Online Reviews: Good, Bad & Ugly

Modern Marketing

November 17, 2019

One of the questions we are asked most, “What do I do if my business gets negative comments or feedback online?” In a few words: be courteous, respectful and human.

The Golden Rule of social media for business: treat any feedback as if the customer was standing in front of you at a brick and mortar shop. You wouldn’t ignore someone, speak in a disrespectful tone, or use unprofessional language in person – so don’t do it online either.


Most businesses don’t have a team member specifically dedicated to social media. Even if this is the case, ensure your customers know you’re listening. Responsiveness should be a top priority.

The Good

If someone takes the time to give you a positive review, let them know that you appreciate it! People want to know they’ve been heard. Send them a private ‘thank you’ message, a kind comment, etc. to show your appreciation.

The Bad

The type of customer who complains may not necessarily want a resolution. Many times, they just want to voice their opinions and concerns. In any case, if you show these customers that you are willing to discuss options in order to resolve a complaint, you will gain their respect and hopefully change their mind about your company!

Note: If the negative feedback is given on a public forum, ensure you reply in kind and in a private message.

Individual vs. Group

A common tactic for companies on social media is to ask questions. Asking followers for their opinions, advice, and feedback on certain matters is a great way to inspire conversation and ongoing engagement. The most significant mistake is asking a question and never returning. Checking back on the post to engage with followers who have taken the time to reply will make it obvious that you aren’t the “set it and forget it” kind of company. What if 100 people answer to your question in a short period of time? That’s great! Don’t feel the need to reply to each person individually, but it’s important you thank everyone for their contributions. Use this as an opportunity to reply and ask more questions to continue the conversation.

Public vs. Private

As previously stated – if someone files a complaint on a public forum, you need to respond in the same way. That being said – it is important that issues are dealt with in a private setting as well. Some fires will only grow bigger if left out in the open. Offer to contact the customer privately via phone or email in order to resolve the issue promptly and efficiently.

Feedback is your Friend

Be open to all types of feedback. A consumer may have valuable advice or suggestions that could be useful for your company. Acknowledging these people will foster a foundation for brand advocacy.