Dealing With Negative Feedback on the Web

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The one thing many business owners don't get about social media is that it works as a two-way street. By that, I mean that it revolves around interaction, activity between you and your customers and the sharing of information between both camps.

Negative FeedbackI'm pointing this out because I've seen many an entrepreneur underestimate this new platform. Most companies, as you probably know, are used to the old way of constantly promoting and giving out information about their products and services to the market. On the Internet however, this simply isn't the case. While social media has certainly given rise to a host of new business opportunities, it has also given consumers and everyone else a real voice that has untold influence over the market. In fact, if you run a search on Google, you will find websites dedicated to the sole purpose of hosting negative feedback for different companies and organizations.

If you ask me, this trend is long overdue. Consumers deserve a voice, but just because they can give you negative feedback at any time, doesn't mean you should be scared of social media or making ventures on the web. No matter how much you try, negative feedback will always come, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for not. It all boils down to how you handle it without causing more damage.

Here are some points to remember.
  • Recognize situations which you have control over. Addressing concerns in areas where improvement is possibly needed is not only practical, it also allows your customers to see positive changes from their complaints.
  • Don't go out of your way to make a defense across all sites on the web that have something bad to say about your business.
  • If you can, avoid public squabbles. Letters of apology can be sent via private email. Or you can contact the customer via phone and find ways to compensate for their negative experience.
  • Know when you should respond, and when you should just let it go. Some users may just be trolling and baiting you.
  • Engaging people who have an ax to grind against you, or those lodging nonsense complaints, is a waste of time. Again, learn when to let go.
  • Tired of hearing about complaints on the web? Why not put up a clear customer service department that can handle customer feedback instead? Saves you a lot of time and mess.

Knowing when to react and how to react to negative feedback should help you survive the like-unlike world of social media.