How to Respond to Negative Comments

Posted on Posted in Useful Tips, USseful Tips, Wealthy Affiliate

Discussing Negative Comments on Your Website

Have you given any thought to trying to start a business in which you stay home? It is possible in today’s world with the Internet becoming more and more of a daily lifestyle for us.  If you do decide to take the plunge and start your own online business, you will inevitably receive negative comments from time to time. People do not always remember that there is a human being on the other side of the computer screen. How we respond to negative comments makes a huge difference. We need to always think about our we want to brand ourselves. We can hurt our branding if we do not make the right choices about how we re-act to people who throw negativity our way in the online world.

There are few things that impact a brand’s reputation more than the way it responds to rudeness and unhappy commenters. Our customer service will always be an important part of developing brand loyalty.

The internet and social media give individuals their own platform to publish information about their daily activities and their thoughts about our content, websites, and the various posts we publish on our blogs.   It is becoming even more critical for us, as current or future online entrepreneurs to provide great customer service to our website visitors.

It is easier than ever for website visitors to publicly share their experiences and opinions, and the way you respond to unhappy visitors to your website(s) will determine what they say about you afterward. So what can you do to ensure that you properly respond to an unhappy website visitor so that you have the most pleasant outcome possible? There are ways you can actually make unhappy people helpful to your business, so that instead of treating them like a problem – you actually see them as an opportunity.

Each dissatisfied contact has the potential for becoming your online business’s best advertisement, a key referral source, and a stealth undercover operative – if you are willing to listen to what they say and respond appropriately.

I will outlines ways to turn unhappy commenters into a valuable resource for your business.

Get Your Emotions Under Control

Hey, I get it! You’ve put countless hours and endless energy into your online business and your website or blog. You worked painfully hard at learning how to build a great website and you stayed up all night sometimes to get everything looking the way you want, so when someone criticizes your hard work in an online forum, it’s only natural to feel upset.  That online forum can be your comment inbox, your social media sites, because if it is online, it is viral.  Getting negative comments on social media can feel like an attack on your business you are trying so hard to build.

The important thing to remember is that people who post negative comments on social media and your website(s) just want to be heard. Ignoring a rude comment will show them and your other followers on social media that you don’t care about their experience or opinions.

If you take the time to thoughtfully respond, however, you can take control of the situation and turn negativity into a positive experience for your online business.

Take a minute and a few deep breaths to see that this comment is not meant to be a personal affront. More than likely, the commenter simply wants to be heard and their thoughts considered.

Even if the feedback seems harsh or aggressive, it is most likely caused by something small that riled them up. Read over their post and see if you can put together the root of the problem, and what you can do to improve the situation.

Understand that they were likely writing their comment in the heat of the moment. With a little time and some recognition of their complaint or issue, there is an excellent chance they will be less negative later.

So, before you angrily respond to the comment, take a moment to breath and step away from the keyboard. Take a walk around the block if you must. Whatever you need to do to put your emotions in take, because responding to rudeness with more rudeness will only hurt your online business.

Turn the Negative Comment around by Highlighting the Strengths

Handled correctly, a negative comment on your website is a great opportunity to draw attention to your business’s many positive qualities. Turn the comment around by highlighting your strengths. If they had a bad experience with something that you are promoting on our niche site, tell them a story that relates to their experience and how the {XYZ product} has been helping people for over {x number of years} and you have personally see how it has helped you and others.  I recently received what many would consider a rather rude comment on my JavaScript tutorial.  It is an introduction to JavaScript, not a full in depth tutorial. Here is the comment:

Rude Comment from on JavaScript tutorial

This commenter has probably had some bad experiences with coding and specifically with JavaScript and that triggered a harsh reaction. As I said earlier in this article, even if the feedback seems harsh or aggressive, it is probably caused by something small that riled them up.

Many people would probably delete the comment, but instead I approved this comment and used it as a great opportunity to draw attention to my business’s many positive qualities. For example, the purpose of my article was to help my visitors better understand JavaScript because it is a mystery to many people.  His last sentence, “I did not become much smarter about JS after your article but at least know what the heck this JavaScript is” clearly tells me that I have done my job and my mission has been accomplished. He now knows “what the heck this JavaScript is” – great. My mission is not to make him “much smarter” but to help him know what JavaScript is.  Therefore, I leveraged that in my reply to him by saying how happy I am that he now knows what JavaScript is as a result of my article.

In addition, I relayed a story to him about how confusing it was and still is in many ways to me when I first started to learn JavaScript. I am still confused by somethings with it and I conveyed my own learning curve with this commenter and how I wanted to pay it forward and pass what I have learned on to others and then I mentioned how Wealthy Affiliate helped me to better my affiliate marketing training, because he does state in this comment that he has “met this term in my Internet Marketing endeavors”.  So since I know he is an Internet Marketer which is another term for affiliate marketing, I can try and help me out by pointing him in the same direction as I am heading.

Remember, what I said earlier about reading over their comment and seeing if you can put together the root of the problem, and what you can do to make the situation better. The root of this commenter’s problem is he does not like JavaScript has “symbols, brackets and other signs” and he is “forced to touch/screenshot it”. Okay, so he does not like having to interact with it nor all of the symbols and stuff.  That is the root of the problem. I tried to make the situation better by explaining how computers are like people in that they have different languages they understand just like people do. People understand languages like English, French, Spanish, and Dutch and computers understand languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Explaining things this way might help his understanding by highlighting the strengths – that computers are actually similar to people in more ways that we think.

Visit my JavaScript tutorial to view my full reply to this comment.

Acknowledging their Pain

Regardless of whether or not you think the commenter was in the wrong, it’s important to say you’re sorry. An apology doesn’t mean you admit to any wrong doing on your part — it’s acknowledging your commenter’s negative experience and demonstrating that you are sorry for their frustrations.

Your response should go beyond “I’m sorry” and directly mention what the commenter was upset about. You can say something like, “I’m sorry you had a bad experience with {xyz product}. In their {x number} years of business they have prided themselves in their friendliness and this doesn’t follow that standard,” will be more much effective.

This apology not only admits that you are sorry the product or business did not live up to full expectations, but flips the story to express the history of the product you are promoting and the level of service people should expect from them.

Protect Your Brand from Negative Mentions

There used be a standard formula that said when a consumer experienced poor customer service they would tell ten of their friends. That was before the Internet, smartphones and social media.

In today’s instant-access, multimedia environment, one unhappy person can reach literally thousands, if not millions of people by sending their complaint or issue they had about your article or website viral. Sadly, negative comments seem to be more contagious than positive ones. You’ve probably seen video clips on YouTube where customer service personnel aggravated situations by their rudeness and by not listening and not resolving the complaint.

That’s why it is very critical to use your interactions with unhappy commenters as an opportunity to turn them around. Unresolved issues tend to escalate. They get posted to social media pages and more and more unhappy commenters join the conversation. Negativity is like a disease if you think about it and people can be easily influenced. The louder the conversation gets, the more the negative sentiment towards your brand will spread to other people in your target market. By providing good customer service and making those unhappy people feel heard you can minimize your negative publicity.

This relates to whether you are promoting a particular product or company and especially is true if you are one of the many entrepreneurs who make your own product and sell it online.

Building a Positive Reputation

A unhappy commenter that is transformed into a delighted one becomes even more loyal than a happy customer or commenter. In other words, we are even more satisfied when we have had a problem and it is been solved or explained to us in more detail so that we can fully understand. Better still, when a disgruntled person receives stellar service and appreciation from you they are more likely to tell their friends, in part, because it casts them in such a positive light.

When you make your visitors happy by resolving their issues and then exceeding their expectations your visitors will be motivated and excited to share the story and you will get repeat visits to your website. Again, everyone is happy to spread the word about how much time you took and how special you made them feel and how you went out of your way to help them. Your visitors will post their positive experiences to social media which you can then re-post. There’s nothing like unsolicited, positive, authentic testimonials to improve your brand image.

Remember, every initially combative or irate commenter or visitor contact gives you an opportunity to forge a lasting positive relationship.

Learned Something New?

I hope you have learned something new from this article.  Please leave comments below and I will reply shortly.


Steph Hill

Greetings! It is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Stephanie and the aim of this website is to help newcomers to the field of internet marketing by providing free easy-to-follow tutorials, product reviews and resources. I hope you find the information useful and down-to-earth. My background is in librarianship, technical writing, special education, software training and web design. Please leave a comment with your questions and I will be happy to answer them.

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12 thoughts on “How to Respond to Negative Comments

  1. Hi Steph – I haven’t really experiences much in the way of negative comments yet, but I’m guessing they won’t be far away and I often have some pretty negative things to say about certain products – and I highly doubt they’ll like that very much! I appreciate your thoughts on how to deal with comments and how a thoughtful response could actually HELP your business and credibility long term. Thanks for the useful article!

    1. You are very welcome and thank you for taking the time to check it out. Feel free to go to my tutorials for my helpful insights and strategies that can help grow your business.

  2. One often wonders how to respond to negative comments well, I was immediately drawn to your it and compelled to read more. What you say about it showing the reflection of the company in dealing with disgruntled people.could not be more accurate and I completely agree with that statement, totally.

    In fact the more if it that I read the more it resonates with me on a connection basis and the kinds of people who are searching for this topic should feel it too.

    1. Hi Simon:

      Thanks for checking out my article on How to Respond to Negative Comments. I am glad you were able to see how much sense it all makes. Hope to see you again soon.



  3. As a blogger myself, I do tend to get some negative comments on my website because I do publish some controversial topics. However, visitors can sometimes go too far and their negative comments can put you in a bad mood at times if you let them.

    Thanks ever so much for your tips for dealing with their feedback because controlling my emotions and turning negativity into positivity are the 2 key areas I need to work on when it comes to my blog comments.

    Neil 🙂

    1. Hi Neil:

      Thanks for taking an interest and checking out my article on How to Respond to Negative Comments. I am glad to hear it is helpful. Please feel free to check out my other tutorials, reviews and blog.


  4. Hi Steph,
    I am just getting started online and came across your article. I have not yet had any bad or difficult comments, however I will bookmark your article to refresh myself from time to time. I like how you leveraged the positives from your business to respond to the unfavourable comment. Thanks for a great and useful article.

    1. Hi Shane:

      I am glad this article was useful to you. Thank you for checking it out. Since you are just starting out, you will not have any negative comments, but down the line, you might. So, yes bookmarking this site and article will help later. Have a great day!


  5. This is very accurate. I strongly agree with your first point that you shouldn’t just delete very negative comments. People will soon start noticing that their comments aren’t published and that can affect your brand and reputation.

    If you could respond to that comment thouroughly like you said, I think it’s a much better thing to do then just delete it.

    1. Hi Julius.

      Absolutely. People will indeed notice that you are simply deleting their comments and not taking the proper time to address it and that will hurt your reputation and brand like you said.


  6. I like the way you hit on the nail, there. Negativity can and always will be around. Finding a way to just let go and move on is not always easy but it can be done. Try not to leave anything unresolved but sometimes, you can only do so much. Thanks for the info.

    1. Hi Ricker:

      I am glad you enjoyed my article on How to Respond to Negative Comments. If you remain calm and take time to think about how you should respond in a way that turns the negativity into a positive. Please come back soon.


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