It is all but inevitable that you will have to deal with negative feedback on social media. Whether it is about your product or services, a disgruntled customer or some blogger in their parents’ basement who loves to troll, there are always going to be times when you have to respond. How you do it is just as important as your message. Here are some thoughts.
Park your ego at the door. Negative comments, even from trolls, gets under all of our skins. But you need to check your ego and look at things rationally and not fly off the handle. Remember that people, for whatever reason, sometimes just want to get a rise out of you. So my advice is take a deep breath and analyze the situation before responding.
Rationally review the feedback. I always suggest to my clients that several people weigh in on negative feedback. It isn’t so much whether you’re in the right or wrong, but the first step has to be a rational review of the feedback and two heads are always better than one. Likewise your response – for sensitive responses where a measure of discipline is required, have a few people review and get a group consensus.
Empathize. The reality is that sometimes you are in the wrong and probably most of the time you are not. My advice is to acknowledge the argument/statement/complaint. Empathize. “I hear what you’re saying, but let me explain why I believe you might not be accurate in your feedback.” Never just dismiss someone’s feedback, even if they are just trolling you.
Be the adult in the room. Remember – people are watching! And that’s why my final advice is to react calmly, professionally and astutely. A mature approach comes off as knowledgeable and professional.
The bottom line – address negative feedback (ALWAYS!) in a mature and reasoned style.