How to handle negative social media comments about your service

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by Tom Watson on July 13, 2014

Social media is a double-edged sword in that it can be a tremendous positive for your company or it can help to sink your online reputation.

The difference can be “how you respond” to negative comments. Learning how to do so is key because social media is not going away anytime soon.

Seeing all the social media channels rise out of nowhere to become such an important part of the social landscape over the last ten years is simply amazing. It’s generally a good thing because it informs and educates the masses.

Sadly all that good comes with some bad due to the fact that some use social media to simply bash companies for any and all mistakes on their part. Worse yet many perceived issues could only be a matter of opinion, and not fact based.

So with all that said today I’m going to share some tips for dealing with those who relish tearing apart everything you have worked so hard for. The tips are “old school” approaches that just about any high-priced “Public Relation’s” company would share.

In a nutshell, you kill them with KINDNESS! I know that may sound simplistic, but like I always say… simple ALWAYS beats COMPLICATED. Anyway… here are five tips to help you deal with those who are eating you up online.

5 ways to defeat negative social media comments

1 – Respond quickly. Don’t let negative comments linger giving new readers the chance to see them without a reply on your part. The goal is to address negative comments as quickly as possible so you can prevent them from gaining steam.

Keep your eyes peeled for any type of negative post on your Facebook business page, tweet at your Twitter account or anywhere else you have an online presence. Responding quickly will help show the one who posted – and everyone else out there – you are listening and you care about their concerns.

2 – Be apologetic. When someone is making noise complaining about your services say you’re sorry. It makes no difference if their issue is warranted or not! You are simply better off taking the tried and true “the customer is always right” approach.

It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to get in a public back and forth over just one complaint that someone posts about your company. Taking the high road by saying you are sorry will get others to think more favorably towards your company.

3 – React publicly to start with then respond privately. If you have an individual that’s being particularly hard to deal with take your communication with them to a private channel. You’ll want to respond publicly to begin with wherever the comments pops up then go private.

Simply send them a private message so you can discuss the issue with them via email or phone. Begin by sharing with them your intent to provide a more personal experience to resolve the issue at hand. This approach provides them the attention they’re seeking without making it all a public spectacle.

4 – Thank them for providing their feedback. You don’t want to take anything “personal”. So do your best to view complaints as “constructive criticism”. All feedback you get online is feedback you can learn from, both the good and the bad. It’s all useful!

At the end of the day people desire to have their complaints heard by the party they believe is responsible. They also want to know that you care about them. This is why it’s important to let them know their feedback is appreciated and that you will take their suggestions seriously.

5 – Ask the person how can we make things better. If the person you are responding to is just making offensive remarks and lacks any real context just tell the person you are very sorry they feel the way they do.

After that follow-up by asking them how you can help make things better. After you do that one of two things will happen right way generally. Either they will reply with something you can really deal with or they won’t respond at all. Either way you took the high road and avoided making things worse.

I’ll wrap this up by making mention that you do need to pick your battles when dealing with negative comments. Some people are just out there to make a bunch of noise. If the comment is silly or way out of line it may be best to simply not get drawn into a back and forth dialogue with someone who is just looking for trouble. Let your common sense be the judge on a case by case basis!

Like this post? Then subscribe to my RSS feed. Looking for a step by step blueprint showing you how to start your own cleaning business? Check out my Cleaning Business Training Courses. Want to learn how to make money Stripping & Waxing VCT Floors? Check out my VCT Training Course. Need a great website? Take a look at my Cleaning Business Website Packages.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria July 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Hi Tom,

I had one unhappy client and posted her comment on a social media. I replied apologetically, thanked her for her comment and express that her comment will be helpful to improve our service. She still calls me for occassional cleaning.

2 Tom Watson July 14, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Hi Maria! Thanks for sharing that. I’ve had similar experiences. Sometimes the people who complain the most become the most loyal over time because they see they you do care and don’t simply dismiss their concerns.

3 Jon July 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Hi Tom, Great website. I am really looking to start a small business and commercial cleaning may be a good fit. I am working a full time day job and looking to start out on the side, but I have two questions for you so far. before I buy the courses.

-Is it realistic and possible to start-out by having someone else do the cleaning work on the accounts? I am looking towards doing more of the business role, not that I couldn’t pitch in if needed. My focus would be on expansion.

-Accomplishing basic cleaning seems possible for me, but I am a little intimated by local companies that seem to be able to “do it all” like tile and grout and carpet cleaning. Can a basic cleaning service compete with that in commercial? Would the clients be turned off by basic services only?

thanks in advance!

4 Tom Watson July 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Hi Jon! Well… you have the same plan I did when starting. I had a full time job and did EXACTLY what you want to do, so I know firsthand it can be done. You’ll be busy as you do it, but that’s to be expected.

To your second issue… DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE OTHER GUYS. You start out doing the basic cleaning (just like I did). Over time you get to add in the other stuff. Customers main concern is the regular run of the mill cleaning services. While the more you can do the better (for YOU and the customer), we all start out doing the basics and go from there.

At the end of the day you won’t lose out on jobs because you will only be doing the regular cleaning. And besides… adding in those services is VERY EASY for when you are ready. Both are easy to learn and starter equipment can be had for an affordable price.

5 Brandon July 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Hi Mr. Watson,

I just wanted to say thank you for posting your latest podcast about the rental turnovers. Is there a particular method that you use when coming up with a price to clean the capets? And how many employees do you generally use to clean the houses? Thanks again

6 Tom Watson July 20, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Hi Branson! The carpet needs to be look at on a case by case basis. With that said, many apartment managers will only hire those that have “set pricing” for each unit (no matter what condition it’s in). So they may dictate to you what they pay (I would still negotiate it as much as possible though!).

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