Keep Smiling: Turn Negative Feedback into Positive Growth

It seems like nowadays once someone gets a facebook and a smart-phone, their true inner-diva emerges (varying degrees of monstrosity ensue). If their caramel mocha-chin-chinos are too sweet or the wait in line at Scrub-a-hub-hub car wash was a little too long for their liking, you can bet we’ll hear about it on the net! Feedback, especially negative feedback, on social media sites has become a new concern for many small businesses. With Yelp, Social Media sites, and all the other places customers can review businesses, opinions will be unavoidable. Some owners are scared, but fear not, young tweet! We’ll get you posted on how to turn negative feedback into positive growth!
Let’s face it, there’s no way to escape negative reviews. Some customers are extremely particular and a discrepancy in service will push them over the edge. And once someone’s had a terrible experience, you can bet your tips it’ll be yelped or facebooked and publicized to friends. When this happens, a quick and public response is the best way to react. Honesty and keeping your cool goes a long way. Consider the restaurant industry and thiscustomer-business feedback interaction. Standing your ground in the face of a whiney customer shows that your business can put up with whatever fusses may come your way. Don’t forget, the other customers watching will appreciate and respect owners for really taking ownership and reaching out to correct whatever has been wronged.
Knowing how and when to respond to reviews is crucial. Taking Care of Negative Feedback properly will foster respect, rather than loss of revenue. Immediate and transparent responses to customer complaints demonstrate that business owners genuinely care about how their services are being received (even if you have to fake it). Remember, nasty comments are not personal attacks on you, so make sure your Ego is Checked at the Door when responding and amending a negative review. Give personalized and non-generic responses to your customers, but don’t get overly emotional or frustrated when responding (that’s the nice thing about the internet–no one can see you blushing or grinding your teeth).
And of course, there is a bright side to all of this. When customers mention certain lacking aspects of your business or service, it gives you a chance to improve in that area and accommodate more effectively. In fact, negative feedback can be quite Powerful. At what other point in history could a business receive so much personal and direct input? Business owners must use this tool as a way to continually improve how they handle themselves and serve their customers.
The truth is that running a business can be difficult and there will always be naysayers. Most times, you’ll just have to bite your tongue and take it, but don’t let it get you down.Negative reviews are not totalizing commentary on the caliber of a company. Usually people leave poor feedback when they’ve had a terrible experience and they feel they will be avenged by the powers of Yelp and Twitter. These comments can be misleading and companies should take an extra effort to invite customers to leave positive feedback if they’ve done something right.
This is important! We can’t stress it with anymore exclamation marks!! If you think negative reviews were strong, Positive Reviews get customers magnetized and spreading the word about good experiences! You can do a lot here. Get your biggest fans and satisfied clients involved in your social media landscape. Ask them to leave comments or even email them links to feedback pages. Make giving good feedback as easy as possible for those who are willing to give it, this will paint a more pleasing and representative picture of your business and your work. As much as negative feedback can help you grow and refine your business tactics, positive feedback functions like recommendations and good news. And you’d rather be spreading seeds than manure, right?
Well, that about sums it up. It’s impossible to make everyone happy right off the bat, but it is possible to correct your mistakes. Take each comment as a small lesson in what you did right or what you did wrong. With sincere effort, people will be drawn to what you do well. And don’t worry about the whiners–they’re the ones that have to listen to themselves everyday.
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