The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism: How to Handle Negative Feedback Online

frustrated woman on computer managing online reputationWith apologies to Spiro Agnew, we’re going to talk about how to handle negative reviews, comments, or feedback on your website or on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

Let’s face it. These can hurt. They can hurt your pride, sure. But they can also hurt your business. And you are human after all. Like everyone else, you do make mistakes, no matter how professional or careful you are. It is these mistakes that lead to negative reviews or feedback. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or have a bad business. So don’t take it personally. Rather, take it as an opportunity.

So what can you do about negative feedback?

    1. Don’t ignore it.

    This is the Internet. It’s not going to go away. Negative comments or reviews can all too easily show up fairly high on search engine result pages (SERPs). If people are searching for your company and seeing these right off the bat, you can be in serious trouble. So deal with it.

    2. Tell Your Side of the Story.

    Maybe the complaint is unjustified. If it is, a calm, professional response describing what actually happened can make the commenter look bad, diluting the effect of his or her comment. But if you did screw up…

    3. Own your mistake.

    Admit it. Apologize for it. And offer to make it right. Most of the time, this is all the reviewer really wants. In fact, by aggressively rectifying the complaint, you can actually improve your reputation not only with the original customer, but with anyone else who reads the comment thread. You’ve now shown that your company is caring, responsive, and committed to customer satisfaction. It can be some of the best advertising you’ll ever get.

    4. Engage.

    Especially in a social media environment like Facebook, an exchange with a dissatisfied customer is a great way to get yourself out there, to show your personality and what your company is all about, and to help inspire the trust that is so important to having a successful presence online.

    5. Learn from it.

    As said before, mistakes happen. Having to deal with them helps ensure that particular mistake won’t happen again, and makes your business more efficient.

In a perfect world, you’ll never get a complaint about anything. But nobody lives in a perfect world. Until we do, make the most out of negative feedback. You’ll find it might not hurt so much after all.