How to Respond to Negative Comments in Social Media Customer Service

Brian Powers
Brian Powers

Social media's value as a marketing tool and public forum is also its curse. Unfortunately, trolls can be found around every corner, and unhappy social media customers or followers may not always decide to take their concerns to you in private.  

Companies have been publicly shamed in the past for misdeeds perceived or otherwise, and while it hopefully never happens to you, being prepared for negative public comments is something every social media manager must be. 
The best strategy for managing negative comments is by directing the follower out of the public eye and into a personal conversation. While there may be exceptions, for most companies, this should be the safest approach. 

Here are a couple simple examples of common negative comments and some generic, appropriate responses taken from our new Social Media Customer Service Response Templates guide. 

C: "This product is such a rip-off! I paid a lot of money for it and it never worked right! Scam!" 

A: Hi _____, 
We're really sorry to hear that you're having trouble with _________. Would you mind sending us a private message so we can get to the bottom of your problem and hopefully find a solution? 


The _______ team 

C: "Do not use this company! Their customer service is not helpful at all!" 

A:  Hi _______, 
We're alarmed to hear this! Would you mind sending us a private message here so that we can dedicate time to solving the issues you're having?  

Our company is always looking for ways to improve its customer service, so we do appreciate your feedback.

Best regards, 

The _______ team 

Answers like these are tried and true, and generally safe to use. They're simple, polite, and while they do lack a certain degree of personality, they are a reliable default that can be used by most industries. 

In this case, the goal is to redirect the negative conversation out of the public eye where you can then handle your customer or follower in a more personalized manner, and hopefully reduce the chances of 

It is very important that you do not re-use the same copy-and-paste response multiple times in the comments sectio

n of the same post. Overuse can have the exact opposite effect and appear impersonal, awkward, and careless! 


Damage control 

Sometimes things go really wrong. Whether it's a big marketing blunder, a public statement that shouldn't have been said, or any number of other unfortunate situations, social media will be the first place to which customers, followers, and others will flock, and this is where a talented social media team is most valuable. 
Responses to negative social media comments in such times of catastrophe take on a whole new level of relevance and urgency. 
In cases such as these, a negative post on your social media pages could receive a tidal wave of comments that all express similar sentiment, or, as Germans like to put it, a shitstorm has arisen!  

Unfortunately, this is not something that one of our pre-written templates can truly prepare you for, but it may rapidly become essential to have a fast, dedicated response to such circumstances. In some cases, such scandals can go on for some time, and a unified response across your teams may be in order.  


An oil company's tanker has experienced a massive leak in the Arctic Ocean, sparking an international environmental disaster. Social media users are flocking to the company's social media pages by the hundreds of thousands leaving countless negative comments, sending message after message of anger and profanity, and even dropping threats of violence and making life a waking nightmare for the company's social media managers and customer service teams. 

The media craze may die down in a month or two, but the Internet never forgets and both public comments and private messages can come rolling in steadily for years. This team needs to be able to access a well-crafted response from a prepared statement.  

If the worst happens, we suggest using a blank template to craft an easy access response for your team. 

Above all, remember to carefully align messages like this with your PR experts. In many cases, they may prefer to craft this response for your team themselves. As many PR agencies have little contact with or experience in responding to negative comments on social media, it can at times be your team's responsibility to communicate the importance of your social media response in crisis management, and to report on public sentiment regularly.

Positive messages - it's not always bad news! 

Any customer service representative can tell you that most of the time you're dealing with people's problems, complaints, and other negative comments. Most satisfied customers are not going to reach out to your social media pages directly to thank them for awesome products or service.  

But it does happen! 

Thankfully, sometimes you'll receive genuinely positive feedback or praise, especially in the comments sections of your pages. 

From a customer service standpoint, replying to your fans directly is a fantastic way to foster dialogue between individuals and their favorite brand – you! This keeps fans coming back and fosters brand loyalty, and it gives your team a boost of self-esteem! 

Not only that, positive engagement on your part is simply good social media netiquette. Platforms such as LinkedIn, and Instagram do monitor activity fostered by dialogue between followers and pages, so good responses could potentially give you a boost to your organic reach. 
Responding to negative comments on your company's social media pages is part of life for a community manager running customer service, but there are ways that you can mitigate the hassle. 

Facelift has prepared a wealth of pre-written responses, written by native English speakers, that your company can take advantage of when handling positive or negative comments and messages on social media and customer service in general. Fields are customizable and suitable for a range of B2B and B2C industries. 

read-more-iconFind your free download here.positive-messages

Brian Powers
Brian Powers

More about the author:

A New Yorker in Hamburg, Brian is facelift's content marketing manager. With over a decade of experience in content and social, he is responsible for creating much of facelift's English digital content, in particular the facelift blog, guides and downloads, as well as the writer and co-director of facelift's YouTube series "The Socials".