Social media is a powerful tool for your business, and one we hope you’re using!  It allows clients to connect and engage with you, while increasing your brand awareness and reaching new clients.  It’s also a great way to show the human side of your business and establish trust and client loyalty.

That all sounds great, right?  But what happens when a negative comment (or two or three) start popping up on your Facebook page or other social media platform?  Do you have a plan?

We think you should!

Negativity is a fact of life; we can’t please everyone.  Whether your company is doing their best and someone is still unhappy, or you really did drop the ball (mistakes happen) and a client’s aggravation has gone public, the last thing you want to do is make the situation worse.  Make your plan NOW, so you’re ready before a situation arises.

Here’s how:

  1. Know how you will react.  That part of you that wants to ignore, delete, or reply angrily to said comment?  Repress immediately! You might think the problem will go away if you simply can’t see it anymore, but the person commenting certainly won’t.  When they feel shut-out, they will just get angrier, and likely tell their 100+ social media friends how they feel.  We think your best bet is to publicly reply and show your client and viewers that you care.
  2. Plan the timeline of when you will reply. We recommend ASAP, ideally within minutes of seeing the post or review.  The longer it sits with no reply, the more negative impact it will have.
  3. Decide ahead of time the tone you want to convey.  It’s important you sound calm and empathetic.  Apologize, be a good listener, be humble.  DO NOT attack the customer or undermine the legitimacy of their complaint.
  4. Know when to move the conversation to private.  After you make a reply comment on said social media site (clearly showing your concern for the customer and desire to resolve the situation), you’ll likely want to move the conversation elsewhere.  Know ahead of time where you want to direct unhappy clients: a private message, email address, person in charge, or specific customer service phone number.
  5. Decide how you want to resolve situations and compensate clients.  What’s your company’s consistent plan for making things better?   A refund?  A gift card?  A discount?  We recommend that you don’t just take the easy route out, but rather select something that will convey that you are going above and beyond, making your customer truly delighted.  Taking an unhappy customer and turning them into a happy customer is one of the best ways to create positive buzz for your business – free advertising through a situation that started out negative.
  6. Have a PR format in place if the situation goes array.  If this customer is not responding to your over-the-top helpfulness in individual communication and continues to post negative things about you and your company, you may need to release a statement about the situation.  All of the above still applies.  Stay calm, sound confident, and express your commitment to creating a positive experience for every client, big or small.  Do not attack or downplay your new online archenemy, but use positivity that will reflect well on you by repeating the values of your company.

It goes without saying that this plan won’t help you if you don’t effectively communicate it to your staff or team.  Everyone who works for you and with you is a representation of your brand, and they should know how to convey what your company intends and in the tone you want it communicated.

By preparing ahead of time and acting without stress, you will minimize the possibility of the situation escalating — and hopefully even turn it around!  You will also show future customers that you can handle their concerns in a professional, helpful matter.  Don’t be surprised when negativity comes your way — be prepared!


Front Step Marketing works with builders and remodelers to create simple, effective marketing plans that work!  Need help with some marketing or communications work so you can get back to doing what you’re great at?  Connect with us today!