No matter how careful you may be and how well you may handle your clients, and always maintain a good reputation, criticism will always be there. Some of the negative comments received may be from unsatisfied customers and these may be justified, while others may be from your competition and others just from people trying to rattle you to see your reaction. Despite all these, social media is a public arena and many people will definitely see the comments and consider them but most importantly, they will look at you as a business and how you react and respond to the negative comments. Your reaction will determine how the situation unfolds. Your response may aggravate or relieve any tension that may be building up and hence you need to ensure to respond well to your critics for the sake of your business.

When responding to the negative comments, some of these ideas may be of help to reduce any tension:

1. Admit, apologize and make a better offer

Often the best way to deal with an aggravated customer is the traditional apology. A simple apology and will to take responsibility is always the best way to silence a critic. Despite the fact that sometimes you may feel that the comment is wrong and you are right, apologize anyway. Make the apology formal and offer to make the situation better in the most appropriate way you can.

2. Always be overtly gracious

Since many social media users crave attention, once your business has been given a negative comment, be sure to offer gratitude for the insight. Do not refute the claim as it comes out as being defensive. Instead, show gratitude for the feedback as this renders the trolling ineffective and will also make them feel heard and appreciated.

3. Make light of the situation

Injecting humor always relieves tension build up. It should be done with a follow-up of the complaint. Using this approach helps your customers view you as being both humble and human. You could offer a compensation if the complaint is legit.

4. Playfully refute

Some of the complaints brought forth may be illegitimate as the customers are not always right, unlike the sayings. In such a situation, you could refute to the comments in a playful manner that will ensure aggression does not ensue. The main goal at this point is to diffuse the situation and not to aggravate it.

5. Make fun of yourself

Using humor to "self-depreciate" brings about a sense of humility to your customers. It also shows that you are not afraid to admit to mistakes for the sake of amusing others and it brings out your humanity and confidence at the same time. If the complaint is legitimate, make fun of yourself to make the situation light. Moreover, admit and apologize for the mistake. This approach helps disarm your critics and gives your brand a sense of personality. The approach may however not work on all viewers especially the irate audience, so be very careful with it.

What to avoid when responding to negative comments:

The suggestions above may not be enough to dismantle a difficult situation and you may have better approaches to use. Whichever situation that best works to diffuse a difficult situation always implement it. However, there are tactics that should never be in play and these are:

a. Ignoring. Criticism about your business should never be ignored as they tend to worsen a situation. The comments may grow worse and this will definitely reflect negatively on your business. You may also risk losing some of your customers as it will seem you do not care for them.

b. Agitate. As much as using humor is good, beware of your audience. Ensure you are professional and offer a solution to avoid making worse of a situation.

c. Debate. Customers are not always right and they may make comments that you will definitely refute to. However, do not engage them in a debate trying to show them that they are wrong as this is petty and makes you look unprofessional.

d. Delete . Deleting a comment from an agitated customer comes out as if you have something to hide. Do not delete the comment, rather, recognize it by responding and offering a solution for the concern. Avoiding a bad situation always makes it worse the next time you face it. Get to the root cause of the complaint and do your best to rectify it so it does not occur again.

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