How NOT to deal with negative comments

Not everyone will like you. And even if some leave negative comments, whether it is on your Facebook page, your blog, or a forum, there are ways to deal with criticism. And there are things you should NEVER do, no matter what. Here is an example.

Today, I found this review, where the book was given a grade of 2 out of 5 stars. The author Jacqueline Howett commented and the article got more than 300 comments. Here are a few comments left by the author:





These comments really show a real lack of tact and professionalism from the author. By reacting impulsively, commenting on the review first, defending her book “no matter what” and calling the reviewer “rat” and “snake”, Jacqueline Howett managed to damage her reputation.

Swearing at your potential customers or  even speaking with sarcasm as was shown in the Nestlé fiasco is NOT the right way to go. In social media, comments are for everyone to see and news spread quickly…very quickly…

Here is a couple of things you should do when you receive negative comments:

  • Stop and think for a second: are the comments justified? Do people have a point? What is the best way to respond?
  • Don’t take it personally: it is not YOU the person is judging, but a piece of your work at a point in time.
  • Don’t delete the comment: it is an easy way out. This doesn’t make the problem disappear.
  • Think about what kind of comment it is: is it a spammer? constructive criticism? merited attack?
  • React quickly: respond to the person online, but preferably try to take it offline as quickly as possible. Dealing with things by email will be easier for both of you. Avoid making a comment into a 10-sub comment thread, unless you think it will be valuable to other customers.
  • Brainstorm: if you work in a team, don’t hesitate to ask for your colleagues’ opinions and advice.
  • STAY POSITIVE: the view of one person/customer doesn’t reflect the views of your whole customer base.


Knowing how to deal with negative comments is important in social media. Only say things you would feel comfortable saying in front of a large crowd offline.

What do you think of this example? How do you deal with negative comments?

  • Thanks Natalie for sharing this fascinating review – I think one of the comments sums it up best by simply saying “Wow…there really isn’t anything else to say”!

    I find it incredible that there are still people out there that do not understand a) the need to accept, and move on, from criticism and b) that, if they are incapable of doing so, being so vocal about their feelings in such a public setting is not a particularly wise move.

    In just a few short responses, this author has done irreparable damage to her personal brand, and has (no doubt) turned off a lot of readers from ever considering giving one of her books a try.

    • Hey Ben,

      Thank you for your comment. I couldn’t agree more. I think if people are not ready to hear criticism, they should not even publish books in the first place! Attacking the reviewer this way wasn’t fair. She did say “If you read The Greek Seaman from the start until you click next page for the last time I think you’ll find the story compelling and interesting”…and that is quite positive!

      In social media, as soon as you start writing, expressing your views, you must be ready to accept that some may disagree with you. But this is the very beauty of it: you may see a side of things you would have never even considered before!

      Thanks again for stopping by. Come back soon :) !

  • We had to deal with some horrible feedback from a thoroughly disgruntled customer on facebook recently, and we dealt with it by flying into a high state of panic and alarm!
    More and more people are aware of the damage they can do to a brand in the online space and are taking full advantage of the leverage! It’s hard not to take it personally when you work so hard to make your customer service as great as it can be, but we need to rise above! Every negative comment is an opportunity to show how much you care about your customers and how fabulous your customer service can be! Great advice in your post above, keep up the good work! p

    • Hey Phil,
      Thanks again for your comment. I totally agree with you, social media is a great way to show to your customers that you can listen and take action.

      I hope to read your posts soon ;) let me know how your blog is coming along and if I can help!

      See you soon!

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