Customer Success ResearchGuide: 7 Tips to Handling Negative Comments Online

In a typical scenario where a customer surfs online to find a solution for a need, they would come across various businesses that offer them exactly what they want. Gone are the days when a consumer would only look for prices and contact details of a particular organization. With competition on the rise, similar options to choose from are vast as well. In addition to checking rates, a customer would also go through reviews and comments of a brand to determine whether it will be worth their money. According to customer review statistics, 72% of B2B buyers claim negative reviews give insights into a product. It’s evident that a conversion is assured through a positive reputation.

According to Google, positive customer comments and reviews are sure to increase organic visibility. This, in turn, would help any business increase online lead generation and sales conversions. Unfortunately, sunny days are not always the case. Negative comments are inevitable. You could be the most preferred service provider or a product manufacturer, yet there will be some sort of negative criticism. Worry not! Here’s how you can tackle adversity with seven helpful tips.

Pre-Guide Tip: Fast settles the Furious

Before we get into the context, here’s some valuable advice that would help you set your online communication processes straight. If in the case of a negative comment or review, it’s important to address it quickly. Think of a distressing situation from your perspective. A customer in such a situation would want an immediate solution - if not - at least a reassuring response. The more you drag the issue, the more enraged you make them become. Indeed, it’s not always easy being on the watch to spot negative comments. However, real-time communication tracking platforms such as Click Connector help make this deed simple.

Key Takeaway: Always be quick with your responses. If it’s a negative review, your promising response can save potential brand tarnishing.

With this as a beginning note, let’s slide into our guide.

Tip 1 - Identify the nature of the comment

Human communication is complex. Bind it up with technology, and it just gets more difficult to interpret what words mean. It’s easy to differentiate between a positive and negative comment. However, it’s not so simple to understand what type of negative comment it is. Some are destructive, and some are constructive. Take a look at the below examples.


Constructive criticism is not necessarily a negative comment. It’s like an improvement point, but it requires staff intervention. Some constructive criticism such as the above looks very much like a satisfactory review.  Here’s how you can differentiate a constructive comment at a glimpse and a few facts about them.

  • They usually come in the form of a positive remark with subtle hints of improvements
  • Even if it’s a negative one, there would be a certain sense of optimism
  • A loyal customer will give constructive comments on and off

However, Destructive criticism is the exact opposite.


Destructive criticism is the most concerning as sometimes an angry customer may exaggerate a mild situation greater than for what it is. The situation must be treated as urgent if the comment contains names of individuals or other confidential organizational information.

Who would write destructive comments?

  • A customer that didn’t receive service/products that they paid for; or received a cheaper product/service
  • Customers who felt unattended to or disrespected throughout the purchase process
  • Former staff or individuals with personal grudges

Amidst destructive comments, you may find fake ones that are written by bots of competitors. Fake comments are vague, and they don’t explain the fault or the wrongdoing but rather keep repeating the same complaint. Such comments can be reported to and taken off.

Key Takeaway: Constructive and Destructive are the two types of negative comments, neither should be taken for granted especially if they contain staff names or organizational information.

Now that we know how to identify the two types of negative comments, next, let’s look at how we can respond.

Tip 2 - Begin with an apology

In the world of sales, the customer is always right. It may not be the actual case, but that is how you must treat a negative comment or review. An angry customer has experienced something unpleasant, and it's the responsibility of the organization to apologize for allowing such an incident to happen. Understand whether your customer is disappointed, angry, frustrated, or just confused, and respond appropriately following the apology. Showing your sincere apology can also settle the customer from escalating the issue.

Key Takeaway: Always apologize to your customer, even if you still haven’t figured out whether the fault is yours.

Tip 3 - Be downright and polite

In the face of a negative comment, it is important for an organization to be on-point with its response whilst also maintaining a polite attitude. You should not dig too deep into the situation on a public platform, instead, request the customer to inbox their contact details and the issue they faced. Having straightforward communication helps viewers understand your organization to be a responsible one.

Key Takeaway: Don’t dig deep into the review as it’s public. Be polite and say what’s most necessary.

Tip 4 - Customize your response

Review-responding bots are an angry customer’s worst nightmare. Not only do they fail to understand the issue, but they also respond to every review using the same template. If you’re in the service industry such as Travel, Hotel, or other consultancy service provider, your customers’ experience would always differ from one person to another depending on your agent and the type of service purchased. In such a situation if there’s a negative comment, it must be customized accordingly. This will help build consistent engagement in your platforms.

Key Takeaway: Always customize your responses, be it negative or positive. Especially when it comes to Service Industry, every experience is unique.

Tip 5 - Carry it offline ASAP

Just because the complaint came through an online platform does not mean you have to handle it on the same platform. Plus, it’s quite risky to carry out a complaint publicly. Once the initial response has been left, take it offline. In order to resolve an issue offline, you must respond in a way that the angry customer wouldn’t add to your thread further. See the following hypothetical case.

A customer named X comments on a flyer of your Travel Agency’s latest destination package complaining of the horrible service they received from the sales representative.

Your response can be as simple as below;

“Hi X, we are sorry that you had to experience such service. Customer experience means a lot to us, and we would like to hear more about your unpleasant experience, so we can help make it better next time. Do inbox us your contact details, or mail to ******, one of our customer experience specialists will get in touch with you.”

Key Takeaway: Make sure to act out the negative comment offline to reduce attracting unnecessary attention.

Tip 6 - Fix the issue and receive feedback again

As a responsible organization, you must attempt to solve the issue for real. Many customer service agents respond to a comment, but they never approach the customer again. If you want to build exceptional customer service, this is key. Firstly delegate the communications process and have a proper workflow on how negative reviews are been handled. Next, set up the main contact point such as a customer experience specialist dedicated to solving issues.

Issues can be solved using the following tactics;

  • A special discount
  • Free Consultation
  • A full or partial refund (based on the error)

In addition, if the fault is somehow yours, you can also gift a token of gratitude as a way of extending your apology for the inconvenience caused. It’s a way of going the extra mile to regain their trust.

Once the issue has been resolved you must request the customer as politely as possible to add a review again. If they are willing, they may also take off the negative feedback they left earlier.

Key Takeaway: Once you solve the issue, make sure you request the customers to update the negative feedback with a new positive one.

Tip 7 - Monitor online communications regularly

If you are present on five platforms, you must keep an eye on their activities equally. Just as we pointed out that quick responses calm the furious, monitoring online communications helps you spot negative comments fast. Furthermore, on-time responses encourage potential customers to reach out to you. A comprehensive omnichannel communication platform is the smartest method to keep on track.

Key Takeaway: Regularly check for comments and reviews and respond on time.

Below is an ideal real situation response.


Bonus Tip - Follow Up

Before we wind up, here’s a bonus tip - the cherry on top to offer a perfect customer experience. Once the issue has been solved, reach out to the customer in 3 or 6 months. Follow up with their experience and whether they have used your services or brought your products again. Maintaining such a customer relationship will build loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations.


The digital world goes beyond what our eyes see. If your organization is a sought-after establishment, there’s a chance that individuals from across the globe have heard about you or used your services/products at least once in the past couple of years. Comments of their experiences could be anywhere. If it is positive, you are on a good track, but if it’s negative, it can destroy your reputation. So make sure you handle negative comments with care.

Written by

Amelia Novah
Amelia Novah
7 mins

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