How to React to Comments for Your Reputation Management

This is a guest post by Jay Buerck.

You’ve been following the conversation about your brand using one of the many monitoring tools available to help you manage and monitor your online reputation and now it has caught wind of a few negative comments or posts about you or your company.

unresponsive to comments and complaints

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No one likes to discover negative comments and reviews but many times it is the price of doing business. While you can’t please everyone all the time it still stings a little when you see those negative words on the screen.

Over half of all Americans use social media networks to communicate to companies either through their Facebook page or Twitter accounts. So why are 95 percent of all posts on Facebook pages going unanswered with response rates on Google, Yelp, and other review sites about the same rate?

Many brands are missing a chance to gain new clients and customers as 88 percent of individuals say they are less likely to do business with a company who fails to respond to these incidents openly and online.

Paying attention to customer complaints on Facebook and Twitter could lead to more sales online. Customers have taken to social media when it comes to customer service complaints because of the convenience and lack of waiting on hold to speak to a customer service representative.

Recent reports have shown that customer complaints that are resolved through social media result in a 21% increase in sales than if customers were to engage in traditional forms of customer service methods such as calling, emailing, or writing an actual letter. Compare that to just 11% more sales from those traditional means.

“It’s not about being perfect, it’s about the response,” says Deborah Mitchell, a clinical associate professor of marketing at Ohio State University to the Wall Street Journal. “People like to feel like the company was proactive in responding, and bent over backward to fix it.”

Building a Strong Customer Service Reputation

Responding quickly and publically to reviews can help in limiting the damage to your online reputation. Consumers like to see that you do care about customer service and choose to do business with companies that have a strong sense of customer service.

There are many avenues that customers can take in posting comments including your Facebook page or post on Twitter but be sure you are using services to monitor the entire conversation as part of your reputation management strategy.

Due to the amount of websites dedicated to consumer complaints, both fabricated and over dramatized you can never be too cautious in monitoring what is being said about your name or brand. Setting up Google Alerts and Social Mention is an easy way to track to the conversation both on the web and throughout the social community.

Establish a Response Strategy

You should work on establishing which comments you will respond to on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels but be consistent with equal treatment of all posters. If your strategy is to reply only to negative comments then only reply to negative comments or maybe will you choose to reply to all comments, maintaining consistency is most important.

If you’ve begun your monitoring your practices you should be able to catch any and all conversations. Once these monitoring programs return a comment, be sure to put your response strategy to work and respond quickly and effectively.

Be Proactive in Controlling the Conversation

There are many ways in which you can use reviews and testimonials to your advantage. Gaining customer testimonials simply by including a call to action in a thank you email can do the trick. From there you can post those reviews at your site or you can create a separate site such as

Creating a separate site for your reviews and testimonials is an excellent reputation management strategy. You should include your company name in the domain so that it can begin ranking for your name and will take up some valuable search engine results page real estate for searching involving your company name.

When it comes to reacting to customer’s complaints online, your first reaction should never be to blast the individual in a profanity laced tirade. Responses to negative comments should be timely and in a professional manner. Not only will you produce happy customers but you will be building up a solid base for a positive online reputation.

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  1. says

    Jay, some good old fashioned “screening” always helps – I added “facebook comments” to my main blog after seeing how effectively they’ve curbed spam on some major newspaper sites and a few other blogs.

    I would suggest if a comment gets through that offends you, the blogmaster or blogmadam, take a few deep breaths and a little time away from the computer to formulate a “diplomatic response” (borrow from Bill and Hillary Clinton’s playbook) before posting a reply you may later come to regret.

    Blog On!
    Dave Lucas just posted Entrecard PR, Googlebots, AdSense and Scraper Blogs

  2. says

    I use LiveFyre on my blog which requires sign up, tracks IP address and other info of people who leave comments to add accountability as well, it still allows “guest commenters” but I can easily filter, block based on IP if they are offensive or rude.

    I don’t have a strategy for keeping track of negative comments on social media as I am not an entity/brand or corporation but it is important if you are or do and make sure your reputation is good (if it is deserved). Searching and keeping track of your business keywords, brand via Google Alerts and other monitoring services can help get on top of a problem before it gets worse and starts to have a greater negative effect.

    In the rare cases I encounter negative comments or feedback, I just simply respond with professionalism 100% of the time. Since everything you reply publicly has a reflection making sure you always have professionalism is key, never stoop to a negative level on social media outlets they can only seek to hurt your reputation.
    Justin Germino just posted AffiLinker-Automatically convert your keywords to affiliate links

  3. says

    Hi Jay,

    Yes – I do agree. With the importance of monitoring your online reputation and the importance of managing it correctly ORM has become part of the building blocks of Digital, (especially social media-) marketing and maintaining a positive online image and reputation and driving traffic through positive reactions ,shares and marketing.

  4. says

    I think this is really important information and it just reiterates the importance of maintaining your reputation while keeping up with your customers and keeping them happy. Definitely good source information everyone use.

  5. says

    Hello Jay,

    A sensible and valuable post. It is true, monitoring online reputation is a difficult task. If something goes wrong without our knowledge, we feel disgruntled and helpless. In such cases, instead of losing our cool we must stay composed and carry out an investigation to find out the truth. Being offensive to this, can do serious damages to the future of your business.

    Sanjib Saha just posted 15 Beautifully Designed Online Stores powered by Bigcommerce

  6. says

    It takes guts to deal with negative comments. The first instinct says you should delete them, but dealing with them, answering polite and with calm really helps gain people’s trust and respect.
    Cristian Stan just posted Best Dehumidifiers

  7. says

    Jay, I am really surprised that the increase in sales with the online method over the traditional method was only 21%. I am sure you also have heard many stories about unsatisfied customers whose complaints were answered who became even bigger customers than before.

    Those who have not been using Google Alert or Social Mention have received a major gift from your article. There are negative buffoons out there who just love to kick a business and see how much damage they can do. Squelching them and dealing with the legitimate gripes can be difficult.
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