Social Media – Dealing with Negative Feedback

I am asked this a lot during our presentations in Dubai and elsewhere – “How do we deal with negative feedback online – What if we get negative feedback on our blog? What do we do if people talk bad about our company online”

The answer is wake up and smell the coffee – if people are talking about you negatively online then you can be as sure as hell that its happening offline to.  So take the opportunity, welcome the world of dealing with negative and bad feedback about your company.  Follow these simple rules and you will be good to go

Welcome It

Firstly the fact that someone cares enough to tell you that your event, company, products, staff or anything else is terrible is someone that cares.  Thank them for their feedback, if you don’t they will think you simply don’t care about them – that’s not good.

Avoid Emotional Knee Jerk Reactions

Of course, it can be hard to train ourselves not to immediately attack or defend against negative feedback but the reality is that a Knee Jerk reaction of attack will show your true colors, it will show you to be an emotional non listening aggressor – this isn’t where you want to be.

Listen

Our first instinct is generally to go on the defensive.  Before you start churning out excuses, take a deep breath and objectively listen to the criticism being offered.  Is there any truth to what is being said?  Can you understand that person’s point of view, if you don’t can you ask them to elaborate or expand on what is being said?

You have this one opportunity to listen to this person, understand them, get an ideal understanding of their point of view and empathize with them.  Don’t blow it by talking over the top of them or discounting their point of view.

Discuss

Its ok not to necessarily agree, you can always agree to disagree – but you should certainly discuss.  If this person is completely out of the ball park or lost a grip on reality politely make your point of view, state your argument and then at the same time explain that you completely understand that they are entitled to thiers and in this case you are open to agreeing to disagree.

Keep It Professional

Always keep it professional, do not let the person bring the conversation down into smutsville, if they are unreasonably digging for an argument or being completely unreasonable check with others as to their point of view.  If everyone else thinks that this person is just being an asshole then its completely likely that others will to, if they do then they have quite clearly lost their credibility so you don’t need to be all over it. with responses  Don’t delete the thread – keep it there to show the fact that you do listen and that “Yes” sometimes you have to deal with difficult customers to.

Be Honest

Don’t try to lie or squirm your way out of a situation, if you have made a genuine mistake then admit it.  As soon as you have been proven to be a fibber then you have lost your credibility and everyone will know it.  If you don’t know the facts then find out, if you don’t have the answer explain that you are in the process of getting the answer – in no instance delete the post as this will annoy people more and reinforce the fact that they are dealing with the a bad company.

Be Informed

If you don’t know the facts then you need to get them pretty quickly, if you have negative feedback then you need to be thankful for it, you have a unique opportunity to turn this person around from a negative influence to a positive one by your actions.

Ask Advice

If you get a very tricky situation to deal with and you are not sure what to do you should speak to your media agency, head of PR or CEO – take multiple streams of advice and then take action based on your best option.

Learn from your mistakes

If you get it wrong admit that you got it wrong – learn from your mistakes as its certainly the most effective way to learn.

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Your network can not have any incentives because it has no audience.

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