The ‘single star review’ is never a welcome notification for small businesses currently utilising social media for marketing. The lonely 1 star out of 5 will generally be followed by a client’s (often expletive-laced) narrative regarding an unsatisfactory experience they’ve had with your business. Sometimes the single star won’t be accompanied by any comments at all, and the ‘reviewer’ will just be seeking to bring down your overall rating – an issue we’ve faced ourselves at Tailgunner.

Then there’s blatant negativity. A comment will come out of nowhere on one of your posts – cold and uncalled for. How are we to react professionally in such circumstances? It’s time to put on your most positive and professional customer service face, because today’s blog is going to show you how to flawlessly handle any future flouts of negativity across all your social networks:

Going boldly

Bringing your brand to the social networking scene can be somewhat intimidating for a few of our clients. They fear the thought of a company profile as it offers an open invitation for audience members to make unfair attacks via comments, Facebook ‘reactions’ and reviews.

Our social media guru Seth believes strongly that such circumstances can be converted for the benefit of your brand. How? Well, in the same way a disgruntled customer approaching a counter can be tactfully handled by a polite employee – before the eyes of onlooking shoppers, mind you – your social media interaction with a negative commenter or reviewer can show the customer-focussed quality of your superstar staff!

We’re all in each other’s business online, so you can bet that you’ll have an audience waiting and watching for your response to a negative review. Embrace the spotlight and take this chance to show both current and future customers how well your brand handles a challenge.


Distinguishing the disgruntled from the dramatic

About 80% of the time, a negative review will be over-dramatised to stir a healthy dose of ‘shock factor’ into an individual’s otherwise underwhelming experience. The other 20% of the time, you’ll be lucky enough to encounter an individual who has simply had a bad experience, and seeks to proactively inform you in the hopes that you’ll be able to fix their issue or prevent it in the future. Where the latter is the case, you’ll be able to comfortably converse with this character and assure them that an amendment or solution will be offered immediately, and to the best of your ability.

In the case of the former scenario…you’ll need to handle things a little more delicately.


Diffusing the drama bomb

Sometimes a friendly, understanding ear is all an unhappy person needs to amend their bad experience. Remember that nothing should be too small or insignificant for you to offer your full respect and attention.

However, when your respect and attention is not enough to quell the unrest of an aggravated audience member, an offer of compensation will generally do the trick. If you are able to offer refunds, replacements or vouchers…do so.

Our best tip: don’t dwell on the dilemma long enough to let it get you down. If the motivation behind a negative comment or review is simply the customer’s ploy for ‘free stuff’, then you have shown that you are the ‘bigger person’ by handling the situation with a hospitable, humble, and ultimately positive attitude.

Rest assured, because this is a great way to build trust and shine your customer service skills to current and future customers.


When things go too far

Let’s take you back to our ‘disgruntled customer in the shop’ analogy that we mentioned earlier.

In a real-life shop scenario, any customer caught raising their voice or threatening a staff member would and should be asked to leave the store immediately. You are more than within your rights to call the police should such an attack take place. Thankfully, in the case of social media, you are safely sitting behind a screen. There won’t be any violence, but that doesn’t mean hate speech is suddenly acceptable either.


What are my options?

Most (if not all) social networks will have an option to report and block an abusive individual. At the very least you should be able to hide or delete their comments. If you feel that the negativity has gone too far, then you should use these protective tools as you see fit.

Please don’t feel pressured to tolerate threatening talk from your audience members simply because the banter is being broadcasted publicly. If you feel comfortable enough to respond, start by inviting your unhappy commenter or reviewer to message you privately (where you might discuss the issue further). Assure them that this issue matters to you, and that you’re here to help. If this results in continued abuse from the commenter or reviewer then there’s no point fanning their flame.


We can help!

We understand that your business or brand is like your baby: you don’t want to see it bullied. As long as your brand stands on a firmly customer-focussed foundation, and your team is working to maintain a willingness to deliver the best possible product or service to your audience, then you have nothing to fear online.

The team at Tailgunner often receives calls from concerned business owners who have encountered negativity online. Whether you need help deciding how to handle the complaint in a social-network-appropriate manner, or you’d like a hand taking the technical steps to block an offending individual…we can help.

Get in touch with Tailgunner today, and make sure to watch our Facebook, Instagram and blog section for future tips and tricks that will see your business or brand succeeding on the social network scene.