Lovely to hear from you!
It’s good to talk and it’s even better to get nice feedback. The reader who posts a positive comment on your blog, the person who ‘likes’ one of your Facebook posts or the follower who retweets your words of wisdom. Lovely stuff and pretty straightforward to deal with. A return comment, a thank you and everyone is happy.
But what about the stuff that’s not so pretty. How do you deal with it?
“I’m really not happy” – critics delight
The customer who has a complaint, the person who couldn’t get an answer on the phone so posts an annoyed message to your Facebook page, the user who has a rant on Twitter. They’ve got a genuine grouse but they’ve posted it in public. You can’t quite decide whether you want to shout back or hide. But what should you do?
- Thank them for their feedback (if there’s a problem it’s better that you know about it)
- Apologise and acknowledge the problem. If you do most people will cool down and let you handle the situation, it’s being ignored or disbelieved that makes the person annoyed. The more agitated they become, the harder it will be to calm them down and become reasonable again.
- Ask them for a phone number/email so that you can get in touch and sort things out. And do it promptly. The main thing at this point is to take the conversation offline.
Offensive and abusive comments
Ah, these are a different kettle of fish altogether! Here are some pointers:
- Deep breath, keep calm
- Do not respond
- If they have been offensive (swearing, racist comments etc) then you need to remove them.
- If the post is on a social network site you can also report them – it might not be just you they are doing this to.
- If the comment is on your blog then you can remove it. One way to limit the chances of offensive comments is to set your blog so that you have to approve the first post that someone makes, that means they’ll have to post twice before their comment appears automatically.
What about the untrue criticisms?
If someone is posting negative comments about your business – perhaps on Trip Advisor – it can be very difficult and hurtful, to both you and your business. Most of us understand that there are people who post bad reviews for the fun of it or to deliberately try and hurt a competitor’s business. In this case the best thing you can do is to try and drown out the naysayers. Encourage your customers who are happy to write positive feedback – the more of them there are, the better. Just don’t go creating fake accounts and writing your own reviews – they usually look pretty obvious and can get you banned.
Have you had any really bad experiences? Share them with us!