Social media gives consumers a direct way to connect with the brands they love. Unfortunately, it’s also the first place where disgruntled customers go when they want to share a bad experience. Sometimes, brands are able to rectify the situation and turn a negative experience into a positive one. Other times, unhappy customers can stir up a lot of trouble.

Each situation is unique and should be handled according to its circumstances, but there are ways that you can address negative reviews and prevent damage to your reputation. Let’s discuss these below.

Monitor Brand Mentions

When a person is mad, they’ll find any way to blast you. This could be on social media, their own website, blogs or many other places. You can’t rectify the situation (or defend yourself) if you’re unaware that these conversations are taking place. That is why we recommend using a tool like Google Alerts that notifies you of brand mentions. It’s important to monitor conversations that include your brand name.

Address Concerns Immediately

There are different motivations for posting negative reviews online. Some customers are mad and feel they weren’t taken seriously by your customer service team. Others want customers and prospects to see their review, forcing you to take action. Either way, you need to respond to feedback as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the comment can pick up traction and damage your reputation. Don’t worry about having a solution just yet. Get the facts and go from there.

Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

You have a customer that is angry. They don’t care what your reasons are for not upholding your end of the transaction. They want you to know what happened to them and the inconveniences it caused. So, avoid reading off a list of excuses for the issue or offering the standard, “I apologize for the inconvenience.” Look at things from the customer’s point of view and ways you can empathize with them.

Move the Conversation Off Social Media

Once a person has taken a stance, it can be hard for them to soften on social media. This is why it’s best to take the conversation off social media, if you can. Offer ways to get in touch, such as phone, email or a customer support forum. This should not be confused with taking the conversation out of the spotlight, as you want others to see how you handle problems. But talking in a more private setting allows you to offer a compromise that the customer may happily agree to.

Don’t Get Caught Up in Drama

Some people “troll” social media and leave hurtful comments just to create problems. If you think this is what’s happening, avoid engaging with these individuals. Address the review once by saying it’s not true and why (provide facts to support your claim). At least this will provide a truer picture as to what’s going on, and other people will have to make up their own minds. However, if you think that you are being harassed, you may need to ban these individuals for good.

Negative reviews are a concern for all brands, and rightfully so, as they carry a lot of weight. By being vigilant, addressing concerns immediately and coming up with a fair compromise, you can turn most situations around. And, learn from the issue. Is this something that you can prevent in the future? Pass the information along to your customer service team so that in the future, problems like these can be handled more efficiently.