How to react to negative reactions from your customers?


The web is liberating: it allows everyone to express themselves and give their opinion on a product or service they have tested. While this can be fruitful when your customer is satisfied, the opposite can have serious consequences for your business.


So, how should you react to your customers' negative reactions? what attitude should you adopt when faced with negative opinions: turn a deaf ear and not respond?, hide or delete their comments? or on the contrary respond and provide solutions to their dissatisfaction?


We offer you some advice on how to act effectively in the face of these possible setbacks.


Be responsive and intercept the complaint before it spreads on social networks.


The latest controversies that have affected Decathlon or Nocibé have proved it: on the Internet, information circulates fast, very fast. Armed with the right hashtags and the right mentions, a simple post can quickly turn into a real bulldozer, and in a few minutes become the center of attention. That's why regularly monitor what is being said about your company is essential. This way you can defuse the bomb before it explodes and turns into a Twitter "Top Trend". Because the earlier you react to a derogatory comment, the less chance you have of it spreading. Moreover, the responsiveness of companies on social networks is very much appreciated by Internet users. It proves that you pay attention to what is being said about you. This will allow you to raise your rating with Internet users.


Stay Zen: Stay in control


Whatever the comment or the answer you intend to give, it is imperative that you control it. You must avoid getting carried away by "emotions". Getting angry will only make the situation worse and worsen your image, so you need to be zen and take a step back from criticism.


Demonstrate empathy by being understanding


Consumers who complain about your product/service on social networks do so because they want to be heard, understood and even supported. Adopting a human discourse and showing empathy will help to calm this customer's ardour. To do this, show that you understand the situation, the disappointment of the Internet user. This will help tohumanize your speech. The Internet user will then certainly be more inclined to engage in conversation and ensure that a positive outcome is found for both sides.
If the situation requires it, an apology on behalf of your company will be welcome. This is a reminder that you cannot always control everything and that you are human above all else: "To err is human".


Choosing between private one-to-one dialogue or public discourse


You can invite the user to send a private message to solve the problem. This allows you to create a more "personal" relationship: you make him/her a special case and show your willingness to accompany him/her throughout the process.

However, replying directly to the customer's complaint as a comment allows for transparency: you are sending a message from a company that admits that it can sometimes make mistakes, but that is willing to improve by taking into account the feedback from its customers. The risk of this strategy is that you will not be able to provide solutions to the problem and conclude the exchange on this inability.


Responding appropriately


Several typologies of responses exist. You can, from the beginning, favour ready-made answers such as those that redirect the Internet user to the e-mail address of your after-sales service. But these answers are very impersonal and therefore bring very little satisfaction to the customer. In addition, they do not always reflect a good image of your company and show a certain inability to accept criticism or a lack of willingness to help the user solve his problem.


It is therefore better to opt for personalized answers, adapted to the problem raised and to the profile of the person complaining.


But then what should be said and in what tone? Humour, seriousness, long answers? It is often difficult to choose.


In thefirst instance, it is better to bet on a short answer that invites you to know more about the problem encountered by the Internet user. In this way, you show your willingness to understand the problem in order to solve it as well as possible.


Once you know a little more and you have been able to identify the "character" of the Internet user, you can opt for :

  • A complete answer detailing the steps to be taken to solve the problem
  • Transparency: if you don't have a solution, say so. If the solution is being implemented, say so. Inform the user that the problem is known and that you are working on a solution to solve it. If you do not have a solution, dare to say so and apologize if necessary. Admitting that you have limits allows you to humanize the discourse: "nobody is perfect" and you cannot always control everything.
  • A response that allows you to counterbalance the discourse held by the Internet user by relying on other opinions/messages left on the same subject.
  • Humour and derision to defuse a festering conversation. When faced with an insistent and somewhat virulent Internet user, humour and derision can helpcalm exchanges and reduce tension. Although it may not always be to the complainant's liking, it will otherwise have the merit of pleasing your community - as long as it is well done.


But what if the criticisms mentioned by the Internet user become violent, insulting or recurrent? If the remarks stipulated by your dissatisfied customer are too virulent or recurrent, then censorship becomes an option to consider. You can choose to hide the comment, block the Internet user or report it to social networks that will ban his profile if he re-offends.


Autour de l'image accompanies you in the management of your image on the web. From the creation of your profiles on social networks to the moderation of your community's publications, we accompany you to manage your e-reputation and always satisfy the needs and requests of your prospects.



About the author

Philippe Rigault

Philippe Rigault is the founding President of the agency Autour de l'Image. He assists clients in the development and animation of their communication strategy, combining advice, creativity, mentoring and common sense. Autour de l'Image is a global communication agency that simplifies the life of entrepreneurs. It brings together all the communication and marketing skills needed to develop sales and brand awareness.

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