Somebody Said Something Bad About Your Business. Now What?

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Eventually, if you stay in business long enough, the inevitable will happen. Somebody will say something bad about your business and you’ll be left reeling, wondering how it could happen!

Well, unfortunately, the truth is that people say bad things about companies all the time. Worse still, their comments are often untrue and designed to be deliberately harmful. If you’ve even read Amazon product reviews, you’ll know that people will say all kinds of harmful and challenging things.

In this post, we take a look at some of the ways you can handle negative comments and how you can actually use them to your advantage.

Find Out Where The Comment Appeared

Not all platforms are created equal. The risk of brand damage is much higher on some than it is on others. Hence, where the negative comment appears matters a great deal.

If the comment is on your website, it won’t usually go viral. People can’t easily repost it. And most customers, frankly, won’t care.

However, things can soon get out of control if negative comments appear on Twitter, especially if somebody accurses your company as doing something that people might perceive as racist or sexist. Comments like these can spread like wildfire and need to be snuffed out as rapidly as possible.

Figure Out If You Need To Respond

Once the comment appears, the next step is to figure out whether you should respond. This can actually be quite challenging, as responding won’t always resolve the problem. Sometimes, in fact, it can make it worse.

If you don’t know how to choose a technology public relations firm, then now is a good time to find out. That’s because these agencies have tried-and-tested methods they use to figure out whether a comment is worthwhile. It’s all about judging the context and finding ways to exit the interaction with your brand image intact.

In some examples, customers will accuse you of serious crimes, like stealing. In these cases, you’ll want to reply publicly using the information that you have available to you. So, for instance, if a customer comments that you never shipped an item, simply cut and paste all your shipping records, plus proof of postage if you have it.

In some cases, you might be at fault. If you are, just make a public apology and find ways to reconcile with the customer. If other people see you doing this, they will be much more likely to use your company in the future.

Refunding money is the best approach. But you can also do other things, such as ship the product again or even send customers gifts as an apology.

Responding To Organized Attacks On Your Brand

Sometimes disgruntled customers and other people will dislike your brand so much that they organize resistance against it. They might start a blog talking about all the wrongs that you’ve done or begin a campaign against you.

Legally speaking, you have many options if you ever find yourself in this situation. If somebody is genuinely and deliberately spreading false information about your company in an orchestrated manner, you may be able to sue for libel or slander. You may also have grounds to sue for defamation of character.

If you know that you operate a great business, you can often use defamation like this to your advantage, without ever having to go through the courts. You simply use their negative energy as an example of the ridiculous things that people say when companies become successful. If it is funny, your customers will agree and they’ll join your team even more.

Most customers will actually leap at the opportunity to defend you. They’ll also write testimonials that you can use in the future to show new customers that you’re a brand with a difference.

Wrapping UpGenerally speaking, businesses can’t avoid negative feedback. Even the very best companies with the fattest profits experience it. That’s because every customer is different and they all have wildly varying expectations. Some are grateful that you’re even speaking to them at all while others expect you to treat them like royalty.

When things go wrong, it is imperative that you know how to respond. You want to make sure that you have a process in place so that you’re not just reacting on the fly. Somebody will eventually post a damaging comment, so knowing how to react can help put your firm at a strategic advantage. Whenever you respond to negative comments, leave your emotions out of it. Find the response that presents your brand in the best light possible.

Womens Business Daily
Published in Business

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