How to Handle Online Complaints (and Why It Matters)

June 13, 2014 | 1 min to read

When you’re dealing with a difficult customer online, it can be hard to keep your cool. The owners of Amy’s Bakery are now notorious for their social media meltdown. After a disastrous appearance on the TV show Kitchen Nightmares, they took to Facebook to lash out at their critics. It only got worse from there.

But responding well to online critiques matters: 70 percent of global consumers say that online reviews are their second most trusted form of advertising.

No matter how rude or unfair the complaint might be, you can’t afford to make Amy’s mistakes. Here’s how to make the most of a difficult situation:

Stop

Wait an hour or a day to respond so you can keep your own emotions in check.

Talk

Apologize, then ask the customer to contact you privately to solve the problem. Keep your communication polite and professional.

Listen

Most complaints, even if they are rudely phrased, contain a kernel of truth. Be open to constructive criticism and use it to better your business.