Negative feedback and reviews are something every business owner hopes to avoid. After hours, weeks, months, and sometimes even years of hard work, having an unhappy customer who isn’t afraid to voice their opinion harshly can be a real gut punch. When that happens, it’s important to remember that no product or service is ever universally praised. However, you can make the best of the situation.
The way you deal with negative feedback should be a part of your digital marketing strategy and reputation management. If bad reviews strike, you need a tried and true way to deal with them, without hurting your digital strategy efforts. Here’s what to do when you get negative feedback online.
Don’t Take It Personally and Listen
Experienced digital marketing managers will tell you that being defensive in the face of negative feedback might be a natural reaction, but it certainly isn’t a productive one. In fact, it can even hurt your online reputation management efforts, especially on review websites or pages like Google My Business. Instead, open your eyes and ears to the feedback or complaint and approach the issue from an objective standpoint. That will enable you to react in a way that won’t hurt your business or cause you to lose customers.
Know When to Respond
Sometimes, negative feedback is there just for the sake of trolling. Not every complaint needs an answer. If you notice that a customer has negative feedback that isn’t connected to any specific experience, it might be best to avoid responding. Make decisions on an individual basis and interact only if you feel you can help.
Make sure to always follow up with unhappy customers even after your first response. That sends a good signal. It shows that you care for the happiness of customers rather than just addressing negative feedback as it comes along. The follow up can be as simple as letting the customer know that you’re open to any further questions they may have.
Be Gracious and Polite
Always be professional and keep your cool when responding, regardless of how malicious the other person may be. Today, many customers realize that insults over the internet come with the territory of having a successful business. They expect business owners to be able to handle it and not get offended or retaliate. If a situation looks like it will escalate, try to resolve it in offline communication.
Investigate the Issues
If you’re receiving many similar complaints, there’s likely an issue that needs resolving. Before you know what exactly happened and how to solve it, responding to negative feedback might be counter-productive. If it’s a one-time issue, responding might not benefit your digital strategy and online reputation.
Gaining visibility online takes time, even if you only wish to position yourself in your local area. If you wish to start enjoying good results for your business faster, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to discuss your digital marketing strategy and help in any way I can.
Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Greater Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.