You don’t have to like negative comments, but you will have to deal with them if you are involved in online marketing. The great thing about email or any other social channel is the bidirectional interaction. When someone is dissatisfied with your brand, you may feel that is also the bad thing about social media, but if you have the right perspective, that negative can be turned into a positive.
In fact, when you do deal with a negative and turn it into a positive, you may have some excellent content to feature in your email marketing or on your blog or other social channel — it’s OK to blow your own horn a little.
Here are five tips to keep in mind when dealing with negative comments:
1. Negative comments are an opportunity
A negative comment in email, on a forum, Twitter or blog is an opportunity to show people how you respond to adversity.
I often use the analogy that it’s like standing in a checkout line and hearing two people loudly talking about some issue with your company. If you’re smart, you’ll step up, hand them your business card and just as loudly explain that their experience is an anomaly and if they contact you next day you’ll fix it.
You are doing this as much for audience as you are the two people. The openness of social media means that others are watching, listening and judging your reactions.
2. Just because it’s been said doesn’t make it so
Just because some commenter on your blog or other channel emphatically states something, doesn’t make it true.
Recently I was on a major newspaper website and one commenter was outraged, claiming that they had plagiarized a story from another site! The story was an AP wire piece (doh).
Don’t give a negative comment power over you by assuming people will believe what the individual is saying just because they state it on Facebook, Twitter, your blog or anywhere else for that matter.
3. Take a breath and take your time
You don’t usually have to respond immediately and if the comment is an attack, you probably shouldn’t. You don’t want to take it personally and react emotionally.
Take a breath, read the comment a couple of times and be sure you understand what they are actually saying and that your head is clear before replying. It’s possible you misinterpreted the person and a quick, emotional reaction will just fan the flames.
4. Engage brain before putting mouth in gear
Research before you respond. Check the person’s comment history and tweets, Google them. Find out if this individual has a history of being negative or perhaps an agenda. You may even find something that will help you deal with them more effectively.
5. Avoid qualifying apologies
Don’t tell people you’re sorry they are frustrated! That sounds almost as if you’re not sorry for their problem, but only sorry because they’re complaining about it.
Just apologize, listen and then offer clear paths to a resolution. Take ownership of the situation and connect the person to the right company resource, but be sure to remain a point of contact and follow up on things.
Those are just the basic tips. What tips or lessons have you learned in your dealings with negative interactions?