September 5, 2014
In this modern age of internet reviews and online feedback, most business owners will agree that the comments they receive from others will have a significant effect on their business. With Google offering businesses the opportunity to respond directly to comments left on their services, many use it as a way to vent, strike back and make excuses... Stay calm and read these 5 tips below.
1) Keep things on a positive, professional level
Regardless of how bad you want to go off, don't. The most important thing to remember if you should receive a cruel or angry online comment, is that it's not the end of your business. People leave negatives… there's just no way around that. Moreover, most people understand that there are masses of people out there who will never be satisfied, as well as those who seem to get off on stirring up trouble. Don't justify this negativity by calling them every name in the book. State your side of the story, let the pubic decide, and above all keep things professional.
2) Remember the larger audience
Living in the uber-commercial world has made the majority of us a bit defensive, almost combative when it comes to protecting our egos. As a result, the first instinct most people will have upon reading a negative review, is to flat-out deny the allegations, blame it on the customer, or chalk it up to some sort of clever, competitor sabotage. Doing these in your head is one thing, but when you put them out there for all to read, it could rub new or prospective customers the wrong way.
3) Thank them for their feedback, for good or ill
Another inclination is to respond only to positives, while simply ignoring the negative reviews. This, I can assure you, will not make them go away. Again, you're not only ignoring the reviewer. You're simultaneously sending a message to future customers, telling them in zero words that this sort of cold e-shoulder is what they can expect in the event something goes awry. This is where you can flip things in your favor. No matter how they respond, be it favorably or furiously, be sure to thank them for taking time to help you improve your business and services.
4) Ask what you can do to make things right
So often when a business owner discovers a potentially-damaging review, the frenzy they're sent in often results in them forgetting the basics. In this case, that means contacting the customer immediately to learn more about why they're upset, and what you can do to remedy the situation. Many have learned that these reviews are often a cry for more personalized attention, and can be resolved quickly and without leaving any hurtful trail in its wake.
5) Take something positive from the experience
Dealing with a negative feedback, comments or reviews can be more emotional than most people give them credit for. If you walk away from each situation having learned nothing, it's likely to repeat itself over and over until you eventually stop trying. This is why it's vital that you find some sort of learning lesson from each experience; be it good, bad or somewhere in the middle. When being praised, take note of what warranted it and work that into your business model. When chastised, be honest with yourself in making changes to prevent it from happening again.