smiley-155846_640Your business recently took a catastrophic nosedive. Maybe you aren’t keeping up with order fulfillment or you sent out a bad batch of product. Customers are blowing up your Facebook with negative reviews, angry comments, and bad juju. Whatever the case may be, just know this: it happens. The next few moves are crucial to your continuing success. If you ignore the critics and complainers, your brand building efforts will implode. Word will spread, customers will lambaste you … it won’t be pretty.

Before you pen up a reply, read through these 8 rules.

Don’t delete the complaint or block the complainer.

Although this might seem like a viable solution, it’s only a temporary fix. This will anger the customer even more, and cause them to retaliate. Plus, it’s just bad customer service.

Don’t use a generic copy and paste response.

You see this all the time. You might get something like: “Hi Sarah! We’re so sorry to hear that. Your request has been received, and we’re working on a solution.” This type of response just adds fuel to the fire.

Do be personal.

Use the customer’s name. Cite their specific solution (if applicable.)

Here’s a great example.

Hi Cindy! My name is Kristen. I’m sorry your package didn’t arrive on time … not acceptable! I just emailed you a refund confirmation, as well as a 50% off coupon code for your next order. We don’t want to lose your business. This won’t happen again! Enjoy your week 🙂

Do apologize.

It’s ok to say sorry. Sometimes, that’s all people want. If you deny your screw-up, it only makes it worse. Confront the elephant in the room, and then move forward. When you respond positively to negative online comments, you preserve customer relationships.

Do offer a speedy solution.

Make your solution the highlight of the response. In addition, set a time stamp on your progress. For example, “We’re researching the location of your package right now. I will call you with an answer by 3PM today.”

Don’t over-apologize.

Make your initial apology quick and polite. Get to the point. Use “I’m sorry” as a segue to your solution. By no means should the apology be the main event.

Don’t be long winded.

Don’t go on and on graveling for three paragraphs. It’s not necessary. An upset customer isn’t a life or death situation, so don’t treat it as such. Don’t provide ten different excuses as to why you screwed up. Apologize, offer a solution, and move on.

Do offer a fair mixture of personality and professionalism.

You don’t want to sound too casual, as the customer might think you don’t take them seriously. But, don’t make yourself sound like a robot either. This isn’t a cover letter, so avoid replies like the one below.

Dear Ms. Smith, 

Your request was received. Our team has expedited this ticket to the front of the line, and will reach out to you when the issue is resolved.


Kristen N. Vanstrom
Customer Support Rep

Whatever you do, be respectful. Focus on a solution. Don’t get defensive, just fix the problem.