Our Blog

Handling Negative Comments with Dissatisfied Customers and Online Trolls

Katie Stensberg

Spoiler Alert … Do Not Feed the Trolls

Trolls are those pesky little buggers that live to stir up hate with your brand. More often than not, Trolls live in online communities, such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room or blog. When dealing with Trolls simply do not respond. Silence is the best tool you have – use it. Trolls only become bigger when they receive reactions from people and gain attention.

“You’re dealing with an agitator,” Daniel Post Senning says. “They’re only there to disrupt or hurt. If that’s anyone’s goal, the less attention you give them the better.”

However, if a Troll is making noise on your social media site … DELETE. This is an appropriate time to delete a comment or message.

But what about those who are not Trolls? This takes a bit more planning and finesse. Below are simple guidelines when responding to negative talk on your social sites.

Respond quickly

The faster you respond (and yes you will respond), the better you’ll look in the eyes of the social media community. According to Convince and Convert, 42 percent of customers expect a response within 60 minutes and 32 percent expect a response in just 30 minutes. Remember to have coverage after normal business hours – 57 percent expect the same response time at night and on weekends.

Draft responses

In preparation, draft up responses to frequent inquires and topics. These responses can then be appropriately tailored to individuals. Drafts will help lower the response time with appropriate language and direction.

Respond calmly and politely

Thank them for reaching out and apologize for any inconvenience. The writing style should be sincere.  Use language that is warm and also confident. Keywords and messages to use in your response may include:

  • We value you as a patient.
  • Thank you for reaching out to us.
  • Sorry to hear that you had a poor experience.
  • We take complaints likes this very seriously.

Offer a solution and provide next steps

Keep your message short and to the point. Explain what you are going to do and when this will happen. If directing the user to a point person, be sure to include their full name, position, email and phone number.

Redirect the conversation

Encourage them to send a private message to redirect the conversation out of the public eye. This tactic is used if the conversation is escalating and a resolution is not being met.

Remind users of your Social Media Policy

A social media policy works best to remind visitors that you are watching and will not tolerate inappropriate behavior. There are plenty of social media policy examples online. Tailor the policy to your organization. Keep the tone light and conversational.

As a last (very last) effort, don’t be afraid to delete comments that are hateful and off-topic.

Need help navigating your social media or digital presence? Reach out to The Roberts Group. Let us design and develop an online strategy that meets your budget and exceeds your expectations.


Leave a Comment ...