- Take it personally. While it’s human nature to get defensive when you feel that your company is being criticized, remember that it’s not a personal attack on you.
- Discredit their opinion. Whether the criticism is justified or not, keep in mind that someone cared enough to interact with you and let you know that they had a bad experience. Don’t try to shoot back with a snarky comment or trivialize their concerns.
- Delete comments or try to have them removed. First of all, nothing is ever completely erased. Some comments may still show up on cached pages, so if someone stumbles upon them and realizes the discrepancy, it hurts your credibility. Personally, I’m very skeptical of vendors who don’t seem to subscribe to a philosophy of transparency, and I’m much more inclined to do business with people who are not afraid to deal with feedback and with their customers honestly.
- Waste the opportunity. Negative feedback presents several opportunities: to show your audience that you care, to turn someone around, and to gain valuable insights that might result in service and product improvements.
- Respond as quickly as possible. Show that you’re paying attention and respond right away. Response time is often viewed as a prime indicator of the type of customer services that a company provides.
- Thank them for their feedback. Acknowledge the fact that someone actively interacted with your brand. You may not agree with their opinion, but as mentioned above, they just created an opportunity for you to improve your customer relations.
- Craft a personal response. A cookie cutter response to negative feedback is unlikely to be a game changer. Be personable. Whenever possible, address the person by their name and introduce yourself as well, so you can establish the foundation for a constructive dialog.
- Suggest next steps. After finding out what your critic’s pain point or complaint is, discuss with them ideas on how to proceed. Are they willing to provide you with more information? Are you able to offer them something for their troubles? Have an honest talk about how you can resolve the issues.
If your team consists of multiple people who interact with your prospects and customers online, make sure that you collectively discuss best practices and specific scenarios in order to make sure that everybody is on the same page. As always, talk about what worked best in certain situations and adjust your approach accordingly.
What are some other dos and don’ts with regard to negative feedback?