How to deal with negative reviews on social networks and Google?

Reviews on the internet are not always favourable. It is also possible to get negative reviews. How to deal with negative reviews?
how to deal with negative reviews

Table of contents

Today, brands or influencers can communicate more easily with their customers or followers through social networks. With Facebook for example, your customers can contact you directly and it is easier. However, sometimes customers are unhappy, because of an error on your part or for some unknown reason. In any case, they may leave negative reviews on your social network pages or on your Google My Business rating sheet. In these cases, how do you deal with negative reviews? Let's find out in the rest of this article.

What is the impact of negative reviews on e-reputation?

As a business or influencer, reviews (in general) from customers or members are still of great influence on your visibility on the internet. Indeed, when they are positive, they can have an extremely favourable and beneficial effect on strengthening andimproving your image. However, negative reviews cruelly call into question the credibility of your services and therefore of your brand.

On Google My Business, its negative reviews or comments have the effect of lowering your average rating. You will therefore understand that your users will take this as a strong signal that your company is not efficient and professional. And of course, whether these opinions are justified or not! Your e-reputation will therefore be tainted and weakened. It is precisely for these reasons that you must learn to respond to these negative comments with tact and subtlety in order to manage them as well as possible.

How to deal with negative reviews on social networks?

on a sky-blue background, a hand clicks on a star in a picture that makes an inverted smile
A negative review is bound to happen at some point

Social networks are the place where customers can publicly and freely express their dissatisfaction. But on social networks, everything tends to be amplified very quickly. It is therefore essential that when you receive a negative comment or review, rightly or wrongly, you take it into account. But how do you deal with them without there being any bad repercussions? Discover the best practices to adopt.

1. Give a quick response, but not instantly

A quick response is probably the best way to respond to negative feedback. You may decide to bury your head in the sand and remain silent. But this is the worst reaction you can have. Because obviously, the customer or user responsible for the review will expect you to react. But even if you are right, your silence will only support the negative review and will make you systematically guilty. And this will be a big problem for your brand image!

You should react quickly, but not in a rush. In other words, do not be impulsive in your response. Instead of making the situation better, you risk getting subjective and disproportionate responses. Clearly, you should respond to negative reviews in a timely manner, but take time to recover.

Data has shown that the majority of customers want a response to their comments within 7 days. We therefore recommend that you wait until the next day to respond to the negative feedback, once you have read it. After all, the wait on social media is counted in hours, not days. In doing so, you will respond in a calm, courteous, polite and professional manner.

But there is one thing you should definitely keep in mind. Negative reviews are not always a bad thing. When you handle them well, you can even turn them into a positive situation and strengthen the credibility of your company with your prospects.

When it is a justified negative opinion

After investigating the customer history, if you realise that you are in error, you must acknowledge it. In any case, it is said that "the customer is king". On this basis, accept that the customer's claim is perfectly legitimate. When you have made a mistake, really admit it.

As we said, step back and respond quickly, taking care to be courteous, humble and above all polite. So don't ignore a member's or customer's displeasure and apologise. Your customer should be able to see that you value their complaint and their person. This will make them feel good, and more often than not, it will help to resolve the conflict without escalating verbally.

When it is a malicious negative review

Negative reviews are not always justified. Of course, it is now commonplace to receive abusive, insulting, unfounded, defamatory or malicious comments on social networks. It is these negative opinions that, if left unchecked, end up seriously damaging the company or leading to a bad buzz.

It is therefore important to be careful how you respond. Mainly because your potential customers will not focus on the customer's opinion, but much more on your reaction. So, if you respond in the right way, this conversation can bring you new followers!

So, in these cases of abusive opinions, step back, be kind, compassionate and above all sorry. You can even combine your words with a little humour to calm things down. Never give in to anger and don't be aggressive or rude, even if it is not at all obvious.

2. Is the removal of the negative opinion a good idea?

On social networks, you have the ability to delete comments that you find inappropriate, since you have technical control over your pages. It is therefore normal to be tempted to delete a negative review from your social networks. Who wouldn't think of that? Such a reaction would be understandable, but would not be the best option. Of course, negative reviews are not flattering, but neither would deleting justified and sincere negative reviews.

Also, by leaving them online, others can be convinced of your honesty and the importance you place on people. Just make sure you are complacent and listen to your customer and respond constructively.

However, in the event of abusive negative reviews, in particular gratuitous insults or racist remarks, you can delete these reviews. This will prevent any outbursts. But in the case of defamatory comments, your reaction will be a little different. This is an offence punishable by law. So do not play into the hands of your detractor and remain humble and courteous. Only with this attitude can you set the record straight.

Also, it is a good idea to keep a screenshot of what has been published. And since you will be responding publicly, all other prospects and former clients will know what it is really about. After that, you can take the matter to your legal counsel for legal action. You don't have to tolerate the bad behaviour of trolls (people who provoke hostile debates by posting provocative messages)!

3. Do not take comments personally and respond in a personalised manner

a stressed young woman looking at a laptop screen, touching her forehead, a girl annoyed and frustrated by a problem
Distance yourself from it and don't take it personally

Certainly, it is not easy to remain calm in the face of negative reviews. But as we have said, you need to be empathetic. But above all, you must remain OBJECTIVE. Above all, do not let anger or irritation get the better of you. So don't take negative feedback personally. The best way to do this is to start by putting yourself in the user's shoes to understand their point of view.

In addition, you should do everything possible to respond to the user in a personalised way. So avoid ready-made messages and really show that you take their opinion into account, even if it is negative. To do this, at least mention their first name or surname in your comment. Personalise your reply to show that you are truly sorry.

In addition, to avoid the risk of a dispute arising in public, offer to continue the discussion in private with the customer or member. Either by private message, email or telephone if possible. Whether in private or in public, it is important to resolve the problem caused by the dissatisfaction of the user responsible for the negative review.

4. Solve the problem

The surest way to stop these negative reviews is to solve the problem they raise. Whether they are justified or not, by providing an appropriate solution to your customer, they will be satisfied. By listening with a friendly and professional attitude, you can easily identify the problem and repair the dispute. Once your customer's dissatisfaction has been resolved, you will be able to re-establish a good foundation.

If, for example, a product malfunctions, you can offer to return it. In doing so, you will exchange the product if it is really faulty. On the other hand, if the fact is that the Internet user just can't get the device to work, explain clearly how to proceed.

In short, try to solve your customer's problem, and reassure them that you have taken their opinion into account. Then they might even update their negative review and change it to a positive one!

Also read: Local SEO: using Google Maps for your business

5. Establish preventive measures

In order to limit the risks of negative user reviews, you need to make forecasts. But how? Let's look at two main techniques you need to put in place.

Impose rules

Whether you are an influencer or a brand, it is always advisable to anticipate crisis situations that could arise. You can prevent this by drawing up a charter of good conduct that you will publish on the pages of your various social networks. This is a simple but effective way to warn your community that any defamatory, insulting or inappropriate comments will be deleted without further ado.

This in fact allows you to disclaim responsibility. But also and above all to impose rules to limit negative comments. In this way, when you are confronted with abusive and inappropriate negative reviews, you can automatically remove them with complete peace of mind. Smart! In addition, try to update your policy regularly, learning from each new experience.

Leverage social listening

On social networks, you can set up a social watch. This is in fact a way of anticipating slippage. But also to control them as quickly as possible when you could not avoid them. To do this, you don't need to monitor all the movements of your social network accounts day and night. All you need to do is entrust this work to social monitoring tools.

In other words, social listening platforms will be like your ears on the various social networks. These platforms include Reddit, Geopiq, Mention, Google Alert, Alerti, and many others. These tools are either paid or free, but they are all effective depending on your needs. So try to set them up to be on the lookout for negative reviews.

6. Respond to positive reviews

To better manage negative reviews, you should certainly not ignore positive reviews. They show that despite the few negative reviews, your users appreciate what you do. It would therefore not be very respectful to remain indifferent to the positive comments left on your Facebook page. So show some attention to these many customers by thanking them with warm responses. This is one of the best ways to build customer or community loyalty.

How to deal with negative reviews on Google?

On your Google My Business page, you also need to learn how to deal with negative feedback. The ways of doing this are not so different from your pages on social networks. Indeed, everything is public on Google, just like on your social networks. The only difference is that on your Google page, it is impossible to remove negative reviews. At least, you don't have the right to do so, because Google has technical control over your company's page.

When you are faced with an abusive review, you can take legal action. But if you also want Google to remove the review, you will need to be very patient. You will need to provide clear evidence that the review violates the platform's rules. Otherwise, you will not be helped. A simple and sincere negative review is therefore considered to be within the limits of freedom of expression.

1. Anticipate and detect negative reviews

In order to limit the damage caused by negative reviews, you need to anticipate them. To do this, anticipate possible problems and identify the negative opinions that could arise. This will allow you to think about them and how to respond. But the truth is that it is difficult to anticipate accurately.

This is why you need to set up digital watches. If you are a large company, these cells will serve as alerts. But for smaller companies, you can install Google Alerts. This way, you will be constantly informed of all publications that concern the company. This will make it easier to identify false negative reviews.

2. Be responsive while remaining professional and polite

Always respond quickly to a negative review is the best way to deal with it. You know, even on Google, most of the techniques for dealing with negative reviews on social networks apply here too. So, if you want to convince the user to remove their review, you must respond without a long wait. You should also respond, always keeping in mind good practices.

Remain courteous and professional

Whether you think the customer's comments are really hurtful or not justified, you should not react immediately in anger. Stay calm and do not take the negative feedback to heart. Respond to the customer in a professional, respectful and courteous manner. As we have seen, take an interest in the customer and address all the points they have raised. And do this with tact and serenity. Don't forget to thank the customer for their opinion and personalise the response. In fact, the whole solution lies in a cordial and professional attitude.

Be friendly and empathetic

When faced with justified dissatisfaction, sincerely admit your mistake and apologise. You must show that you understand the user's point of view. And to find the right solution, you can propose to your customer a discussion in private messaging or by telephone. This will help you get along better.

But in any case, you must absolutely propose a solution that will solve the problem. This is the most important thing!

3. Collect positive reviews on a regular basis

close-up of the customer's hand pressing on the smartphone screen with a rating feedback icon
A large number of positive reviews will cover up a negative review which will then have less weight

A great way to get rid of negative reviews is to get lots of positive reviews. So make sure you offer your customers good (exemplary and efficient) services. This way you will collect positive customer reviews. In this way, prospects will no longer attach much importance to negative reviews, because there will be more positive reviews from satisfied customers.

So often ask your loyal customers, friends and community to testify to the quality of your services through positive reviews. And don't forget to respond to them too. Show your customers that their opinions count. This is essential for your e-reputation. Finally, try using the services of a community manager to manage your pages. They are prepared to deal with negative reviews in the right way.

How to deal with negative reviews: in summary

Ultimately, it is essential to deal effectively with negative reviews on social networks and Google. So don't ignore any negative reviews, never respond with anger and resentment, don't make excuses and don't deny your wrongdoing. Also, on your social networks, unless the review is defamatory or abusive, do not delete it, to avoid any outbursts.

So, have you ever faced negative reviews on social networks or Google? If so, how did you deal with it?

Suggested items