As an entrepreneur you have been able to blast away boundaries. You’ve beaten the odds of slim-to-none success and crafted your abilities into a genuine, professional promise for your customers.
Considering your continued hard work and extended efforts, accepting negative criticism can be a tough task. However, if you can achieve insight from feedback and implement it into your performance, the lessons learned can serve your business for the better; but how?
How do we navigate through negative criticisms and come out the other end still motivated (and sane)? Here are four help strategies that will help you manage honest feedback about your small business.
It’s all about attitude
Put a positive spin on every criticism by pledging to find a lesson learned. After reading negative feedback ask yourself: How has reading this afforded me the opportunity to improve? Then, command yourself to find an answer.
It’s a fact of social media life; the worst thing you can do in a negative feedback situation is ignore the commentator. You’ve built online platforms to interact with your customers, which means you should entertain all forms of interaction, even the negative ones.
Remember that while the issue may be between one customer and your company, you have an audience. Not responding sends a signal that you’re not proactive about problems and not concerned about your customer’s experiences – impressions we all want to avoid.
So reply, and reply quickly; social media tracks times and dates, so everyone watching will be clued-in to your customer service’s attentiveness, or lack thereof.
But plan first
A simple discrepancy can turn into a viral conversation should things get out of hand, so have a response plan in place before your carefully chosen words ever strike a key.
First, weed out the wronged from the wailers. Some people just want to complain and online forums provide the perfect stage for theatrics. Being able to differentiate truly wronged customers from those who want to rant will save your sanity.
Still, everyone deserves a response, so find one thing to agree on. Jenny, I’m sorry to hear about your experience, getting conflicting information would completely frustrate me as well. It’s important to avoid counter criticisms like: We’ve had some staff issues recently and… No one needs the excuse, they just need the apology.
Keep in mind that the wronged might deserve an extension of your apology in the form of compensation. Remember to be personable and specific.
Replying with: I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience is not as redeeming as: Jenny, I am sorry to hear about the conflicting information you’ve gotten from different staff, and thank you so much for taking the time to comment. You’ve opened my eyes and I’m currently remedying our efforts to make sure no other customer has a similar experience. In the meantime, I’d like to email you an exclusive coupon code to use anytime during our Spring Sale.
Notice how the conversation is encouraged to be finished up in a private realm rather than the comments section? Whenever possible opt for moving the discussion off public platforms.
Focus on the positive
You didn’t ignore the situation, you apologized and you may have even extended an offer; now that’s that. Allowing yourself to get consumed by negative feedback is a one-way ticket to trauma town so do not dwell on it. Instead relax, take a break, do something enjoyable and move on. After all, you’ve got a business to grow.
“Businesswoman With Phone” courtesy of Ambro / www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What experiences have you had with online criticisms? Share your story below!
About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about topics that affect small businesses and entrepreneurs while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a company that provides businesses working capital. You can read her daily blog at http://www.advantagecapitalfunds.com/blog.