Silence Is Deadly. 

The Dangers of Ignoring Social Media Complaints and Negative Reviews

Social media is a great way for businesses to engage directly with their customers and foster good, healthy dialogue, right?  Right! …sometimes. When businesses use social media as a platform for connection and direct customer feedback, it can be an insanely powerful tool.

On the flip side (and there’s always a flip side), some businesses create profiles simply thinking that their sheer presence is enough to drive their customers to love them and buy all the things etc. etc., and BAM! The work is done.

Then, there are the businesses who either sign up only to realise they aren’t ready for that kind of commitment, or think it can be used as a perpetual good-news story vehicle, ignoring the engine light for the entire journey.

Social Media – The new issue resolution centre.

The stats don’t lie. An already large (and ever-increasing) number of customers utilise social media as a means to seek a resolution to their issue, or leave feedback about their experience.
Why? A few reasons.

It’s quick and convenient.

In 2017, the typical Australian spent almost 10 hours a week browsing Facebook alone. Likely, their phones are already open, and when someone has a beef with a business, it’s as easy as doing a quick search for the company and posting an often frustrated piece of feedback to be addressed. They don’t have to wait until 9am on Monday to call the customer service team at their time and expense, and repeat their woes to Steve, Amy, Bryce, Anna, and Janet as they make their way up the chain of command. Social media doesn’t sleep, and it certainly doesn’t knock off at 5pm.

It’s public.

If a customer posts a scathing complaint on a business’s social media profile, that business has effectively been publicly called out to resolve the issue in order to save face. Unfortunately, some businesses just leave that turd to float in the water in hopes that it will eventually drift away in the good-news current.

The ‘stay perfectly still and say nothing’ approach doesn’t work.

The old piece of childhood advice: “if someone says bad things about you, it’s best to ignore them…” seems to have engrained itself into the modus operandi of many businesses. The fact is, disappointed customers aren’t being bullies and poking businesses with sticks for fun (unless they’re trolls which is a separate issue entirely). They’re doing it because they’re pissed about something. That ‘something’ can more-than-likely be resolved, or at the very least, de-escalated fairly easily by the business. If the problem can’t be resolved (delays, unforeseen circumstances etc.), a simple acknowledgement of a customer’s frustration is still better than nothing at all. If the problem isn’t fixable in the short-term, the complaint still warrants a response or acknowledgment.


Don’t pretend it never happened. Google still saw it.

Deleting complaints and bad feedback from their social media is staggeringly commonplace for some businesses. The internet sees all, and stores all; its memory is long. In the cases of Google and Facebook, you can’t delete reviews anyway, unless they’re found to be fraudulent or reportable in some way. Deleting negative feedback is just as bad, if not worse, than ignoring them entirely. All a business is telling its customers by doing so, is that it wants to pretend its problems, and the customers who present them, don’t exist.

“Move along, people! Nothing to see here…”

Don’t have time? Make time.

Being too busy to dedicate time and resources to addressing customer feedback on social media is a cop-out. If the business doesn’t have the time, they should re-think their presence on social media altogether. This applies to big business especially (banks, I’m looking at you). Multi-million – nay, billion – dollar companies are guilty of resounding silence when it comes to responding to feedback on social media. Don’t have the time? Hire someone who does.

It can be a golden opportunity.

Customer complaints and negative feedback can, if executed well, be flipped into a positive experience for the customer, and generate good brand image and personality. It can be a golden opportunity for a business to publicly demonstrate its customer service quality, and often have a little fun doing it. Woolworths’ Ice Cube-inspired response to a customer complaint about mouldy hommus purchased at one of its stores gained 32,000 likes and a wave of positive support and commendation from its followers. Harness that momentum! 

Bottom line.

Businesses are consumer-driven. Ignore consumers and pretend their grievances with you don’t exist, lose business and credibility. It’s as simple as that. There are a host of strategies businesses can employ to ensure they have all bases covered when it comes to utilising and addressing their social media presence. We’ll cover that in a forthcoming topic.

Or, they can outsource that function to someone to do it for them *wink wink*. Either way, doing something is better than doing nothing!

Image credit: Quick Meme