Addressing Negative Consumer Content

In online reputation management, the focus is always on strengthening your brand and company profile through strategic content and online communications. In any business, it’s impossible to please every customer, every time. Businesses should be prepared for negative publicity, whether it is in the form of blog posts, consumer reviews, or product reviews on ecommerce sites.

A negative customer review should not be seen as a failing, but rather as an opportunity to rebuild a relationship, and at the same time strengthen your brand through effective online reputation management.

Accepting and Embracing Negative Customer Feedback

When negative feedback is not handled correctly, it can damage or sever the relationship between a business and a consumer. When that feedback or opinion is online, it has even more power because it can damage the brand, and overall public perception of a business.

Businesses need to learn to accept, and then embrace negative feedback as an opportunity to build their online reputation. Negative representation of a business can be damaging, but a business that shows that they are willing to engage with consumers and resolve grievances will find that their brand is strengthened. Oftentimes other consumers will be then become more likely to do business with them, despite initial negative impressions.

Three Strategies for Turning Negative Content Around

Negative feedback comes mostly in the form of blog postings, a general consumer review of a business, or a simple review on an ecommerce site. The three steps to taking negative feedback and turning it positive are simple, and when used by businesses effectively they can offset damage to a reputation, and in many cases build a stronger one.


When a business comes across negative feedback it is important to immediately acknowledge that the consumer has grievances. This should be performed from an account that conspicuously represents the business, and in a way that does not accept fault immediately, but acknowledges the grievance and invites the consumer to further dialogue.


Consumers want to be heard, and capturing their attention through acknowledgement is a powerful step. Directly following this, a business should engage the consumer to determine details of the grievance. From this point the business may accept responsibility, or provide possible solutions for the grievance.


Settlement depends how things progressed at the engagement stage. In some cases a business may replace a product, refund it, or suggest alternatives that better suit a consumer’s needs. Some businesses that can afford it may even take these steps when they are not responsible, or at fault for the grievance of the consumer. Businesses need to be able to determine if the damage caused by consumer generated content is worth the loss of appeasing the consumer, despite not having an obligation to do so.

Effective Management of Negative Content Can Strengthen Online Reputation

It’s important to acknowledge, engage, and settle with consumers in public view wherever possible, however some details will need to be taken care of privately between a consumer and a business.

Businesses should explain their findings and settlements in whatever public forum the negative opinion was posted, and where appropriate request the customer adjust their content to reflect the final outcome. Even a negative story with a positive ending can show commitment from a business to deliver quality customer service.

Managing negative feedback is just one aspect of online reputation management that can help your business to build a powerful online brand. If you’re looking for ways to promote your own business through reputation management, talk to ABC Internet Marketing today. We’re one of South Africa’s most trusted internet marketing firms, and would love to work with you to build the brand that will take your company to new levels of success.