A Guide to Handling Negative Comments Online
We are human beings and our companies are run by human beings. That means that no matter how hard we try, we will on occasion fall short of providing the excellent service for which we strive. And never before has the voice of the consumer been so loud and so accessible. So what do we do when we receive a negative comment or review online? These tips will help you navigate this potentially disastrous area.
1. Take a Breath
The first thing you may feel is embarrassment which could quickly lead to anger. It is very common to want to retaliate, especially if you feel the review is unfair or mean spirited. Before you react, STOP, and take a deep breath. Walk away for a second. Don’t immediately react in anyway, because once a reaction is out there and has been seen, it can’t be unseen.
Look at it this way: you are being tested. You can react and attack this person, potentially causing more bad press for your company or even the beginning of an internet flame war, or you can view this for what it truly is; a terrific opportunity to redeem yourself and display excellent customer service.
2. Examine the Complaint
Now that your composure has returned, really look at the complaint for what it is. What is the person displeased with? Is it a legitimate complaint? This person has taken the time out of their day to type out a negative review – they must mean it. Once you understand what the person is unhappy about, then you can plan a course of action to rectify the situation. You need to determine what you can do to make them happy.
3. Respond Gracefully
Now that you understand what you can do to possibly remedy the situation, it’s time to respond. When you do so, show that you are remorseful that they had a bad experience with your company and that you want to do what you can to make them happy. When doing so, show gratitude for their business and show humility when looking to rectify the complaint. Be generous with your remedy. If you own a restaurant, don’t offer them a free side of fries when they come in. Ask them to contact you and then give them more than they would have expected. If you feel there is no way to rectify the situation, apologize for their bad experience and let them know that every day you strive to be a better company than you were the day before, and that you are grateful for their comment as it will help you to improve.
If you follow this basic strategy you can take a negative and turn it into a positive. Other potential customers will see that you have addressed the complaint and done your best to remedy it. This good will means a great deal to potential customers; it shows that you run your business with integrity, which far outweighs one negative comment!
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