You Have Negative Feedback Online – What Do You Do?
Many small businesses are genuinely afraid of receiving negative feedback online. They know that referrals and other opinion-based feedback drive their business and are very important, and as such worry that anything negative about them could seriously harm their sales.
Threat, or opportunity?
Reviews and other kinds of online feedback are not a threat at all, instead they need to be seen for the opportunities that they are. Each piece of feedback is an opportunity because even a negative review or opinion can be taken and used in a variety of ways. A business could use that information to improve their products, services, and customer handling practices in the future. Feedback can also be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate customer service skills on the fly; even if you do not respond to a complaint or negative review publicly, some review sites allow you to message the reviewer privately, and you can always post a brief message later letting all know that the issue has been resolved. This will tie up loose ends without adding much activity to the page the review is on, hopefully keeping it lower in the rankings.
How to handle negative feedback
When it comes to negative feedback, you need to be proactive. You should:
- Monitor – Be on the lookout for any feedback regarding your business. Monitor places you know have hosted feedback about your business in the past, and also keep an eye out for feedback appearing in new locations such as forums, message boards, blogs, review sites, and social media.
- Respond – Once you find feedback that has been left regarding your business, you should respond to it. You can do this in a number of ways including responding directly to the feedback in the same location where it appeared. You can also take to your blog or other social channels and address any problems stated in the feedback and communicate with your entire audience this way. If possible, you can find out how to contact the person who left the feedback and speak with them directly as well.
- Encourage – Encourage your customers and other members of your audience to leave feedback for you. This can be done in an email follow-up after a purchase has been made, or through other actions such as surveys, collecting testimonials, etc.
- Contribute – Make sure that you are continually posting positive things about your brand. If you see negative feedback about an aspect of your business that has a lot of positive reviews, make sure to play those up at the same time you are dealing with the negative feedback. The goal is to allow good things about you to appear higher up on the list of search results than any negative feedback that might be left regarding your business.
Negative feedback doesn’t have to be the end of the world as you know it. Any kind of feedback is an opportunity for growth, development and understanding and should be addressed as such. Yes, there will be angry, dissatisfied people leaving feedback from time to time, but these reviews and other types of mentions will not ruin your business as they are. Your reaction determines what course a discussion will take, so approach the situation in a calm and professional manner and work through it to the best of your ability.
No one could ask for anything more!