One of the hardest things in the world to deal with is negative feedback.
We all like to hear positive things about ourselves to boost our self-esteem and confidence, but negative feedback can play an important role in our development too. This only works if you can take that feedback in the spirit it was meant in, rather than being hurt and offended, but how can you get better at not taking things personally getting negative comments on social media can feel like an attack on your small business.
If you take the time to thoughtfully respond, however, you can take control of the situation and turn negative feedback into a positive experience for your business. Here are three steps to crafting your response:
Take a minute and a few deep breaths to understand that this comment is not meant to be a personal affront. Most likely, your customer wants to be heard and considered. Even if the feedback seems harsh or aggressive, it’s probably caused by something that up set them
Read over their post and see if you can put together the root of the problem, and what you can do to make the situation better. Understand that they were likely writing their post in the heat of the moment. With a little time and some recognition of their complaint, there’s a good chance they’ll be less negative soon.
2. Acknowledge their pain
Regardless of whether or not you think your business was in the wrong, it’s important to say you’re sorry. An apology doesn’t mean you admit to a mistake or were wrong it’s acknowledging your customer’s negative experience and demonstrating that it was never your intention to disappoint them your response should go beyond “I’m sorry” and directly mention what the commenter was upset about. Something like, “I’m sorry you had a bad experience with a server at our restaurant. In our 25 years of business, we’ve prided ourselves in our friendliness and this doesn’t follow that standard,” will be more effective.
This apology not only admits the business (in this case a small, established restaurant) is sorry for this customer’s experience but flips the story to express their history of business in the area and the level of service people expect from them.
3. Take the conversation offline
After an apology, the conversation may need to continue in a private setting. Don’t be afraid to say “Could you email me the details of your experience so we can better serve you in the future?” or (if on Twitter) “Could you DM me the details so we can better serve you in the future?”
The faster you respond to the post, the more likely you are to defuse the issue.
There will be instances when the poster’s intent is not to get better service from you, but to get a rise out of you. These people are not likely to want to continue the conversation in a less public space.