Do you remember the worst ever feedback you have gotten? Maybe it was your boss, your client or a co-worker?
That can be tough to listen to, but either you mope for a day and get over it or you learn from it and improve.
While personal feedback is often an issue we have to deal with privately, any negative rating on your website, comment from a disappointed customer or review or even a rant on social media about your business, you need to deal with it publicly. (If you don't know how to check for negative comments, please check out our last blog post.)
I get a lot of questions regarding negative comments, for instance: Should I just ignore it? Should I just delete them? Can they be deleted? How can I handle them? Let's address each of these questions:
Should you even address negative comments or delete them quickly?
A few weeks ago, a prospect told me she does not allow any negative remarks what-so-ever. She will delete them if she can, but she will also not do business with any customer of hers if they even only suggest something other than her business is full of puppies and rainbows.
As a business owner myself, I can understand that negative reviews can be intimidating and scary. But in my opinion, you should not delete them, if you can, but take care of them. When complaints are dealt with correctly, the customer can turn into a very loyal customer as the association with the brand through this interaction can be closer than without it. If done right, this can actually reflect positively on you and your company.
While you can delete negative comments on your Facebook timeline or your own website, you can't on Twitter or sites like Yelp.
How should you deal with negative reviews or comments?
There are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind:
#1 Be timely!
The sooner you respond the better. According to Twitter, a customer is 2x more likely to come back to your store after a negative tweet if you respond to them. Give the person viewing your profile your side of the story, since most negative comments tend to be rants.
#2 Be polite, nonconfrontational, and don't attack!
This should go without saying, but more than one company has had a public meltdown on social media - top of the list is Amy's Baking Company after their appearance on Hell's Kitchen. The more you keep your cool, the more potential customers you will win over. Attacking customers the way Amy's Baking Company did might earn you tens of thousands of new likes quickly, but it won't earn you true customers.
#3 Use facts
Stick to the facts as much as possible, no matter how much you might want to put opinion or innuendo in there. Anything that you can prove and can't be refuted, i.e. video footage, receipt, emails etc. will help you prove your position. Stay calm and keep your emotions out of your response, otherwise it will turn into a he said, she said situation.
#4 Know the reviewer? Invite them back!
Is it pretty obvious who the reviewer is? Invite them back in to talk to them, both on the sites where they posted the review and give them a call/email. If you can work things out with them, they should be willing to take down their negative comments.
#5 Did you fix the problem that caused the review?
If I see several negative reviews about a business, but they are all different, I usually figure that these were all isolated incidents or misunderstandings. However, if I see multiple people posting about the same issue, I start to get really suspicious and will probably start looking for their competitors.
Did you have an employee that was the cause of the problem and you've got rid of him? Reading your negative reviews can be a way to find problem employees that should be fired or other problems. Most people are non-confrontational, so they won't say anything directly to you, or even post online, they will just not use your services again. Take advantage of the ones making comments to improve your business as best you can.