Are Mean Comments Holding You Back?
If the fear of negative reviews or nasty comments is keeping you from fully showing up on social media, read on.
Keyboard Warriors, With LOUD Opinions
It's so easy to comment and go. It takes two seconds to leave a thoughtless, mean comment or a scathing review. But the affects on the receiver can last a lot longer.
But negative feedback can actually be really helpful to your business. Firstly, if someone has some genuine feedback for you, listen to it. It might be hard to swallow but if it could help you improve your business it's worth listening to it.
And secondly, other people reading the comments can decide to work with you/buy from you, based on your response.
But if the comment is just nasty, that's something else.
Constructive Feedback V Nasty Comment, What's The Difference?
Constructive Feedback is valuable. It's a way for your audience to let you know how you could do better. Handle it professionally and thank them for their input.
People who are considering working with/buying from you will read your negative reviews. So if you reply in a professional way, it can actually gain you customers!
Be honest, when you're on the fence about making a purchasing decision, you check the bad reviews, don't you? I know I do!
Let's take AirBnB, for example. It's built on reviews. When I am 90% sure I want to book a room, I go straight to the negative comments so I can see what is the worst thing that could happen if I stay at this property. I read the nasty comment and the hosts response, and that makes up my mind. Usually, a negative review tells me that the problem they are highlighting isn't a problem for me, and the hosts response assures me I'll be looked after.
Facing your negative comments and reviews, even if they are ridiculous, will help people to trust you and ultimately, to buy from you.
Nasty comments on the other hand, are just disrespectful words that give zero feedback, this is just the classic keyboard warrior, looking for attention.
So how do you tell the difference and know when you should reply?
When You Should V When You Shouldn't Reply
Did you know you can delete or hide a comment and even ban/block the person from your page/account?
Don't be afraid to do that.
Here are some pretty good indications that you should delete/hide/block/ban
- They use profanities. This is not helpful and could be offensive to other members of your audience.
- They ramble, have no point and are just out to make you look bad.
- They attack another commenter on your page/account.
- They are a spammer, promoting something else.
Having said that, nine times out of ten I would reply to a nasty comment. Why? Because people love to watch drama. If a nasty comment goes up, other people pay attention and if you handle it right, you could win yourself some clients!
The Dos & Don'ts Of Your Reply
- Be nice. Even if you know this person is making things up, thank them for their comment and address the issues they raise.
- Offer understanding over apology. You want them to feel seen and heard but you don't want to lose your position as the authority. So instead of saying 'I'm so sorry about that, let me look into it and see what happened' say 'I completely understand what you're saying and I am going to get to the bottom of this and fix it'.
- Offer a solution. Tell them how you are handling this for them and that it will be resolved.
- Follow up with them. Both publicly and privately. You want to check in on the comment a few days later and say 'Hi X, How are you today? I just wanted to check in with you to see if there was anything else you needed help with?
- Don't take it personally. To leave a negative comment or review, that person needs to be in a bad place. In my experience, you are baring the brunt of something else going on in their life, so try to show a little compassion. It will go a long way.
- Don't get into a fight with them. They may be totally in the wrong but instead of calling them out in an online argument, ask them questions that expose them. For example, someone comments' Pity you never respond to your emails. Are you even a real company!!!??? Response: Hi X! Thanks for reaching out. Hmm that's really strange, I can't seem to find an email matching your name on my system. Could you send me an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get to the bottom of this. Looking forward to connecting with you!'.
- Don't avoid responding. Especially when it comes to negative reviews. You can't remove reviews so you need to engage with them. You doing your best to resolve things looks way better than silence.
Your Action Step Recap
So to recap, negative comments and reviews are not personal, and they can help you get more clients!
Follow these steps when you get a negative comment/review
- Determine whether it should be deleted or replied to (see check list above!)
- Compose your reply
- Start by thanking them for the comment/reaching out
- Make them feel heard and seen
- Clarify anything that needs to be made clear for other readers, without attacking the commenter (eg: instead of telling someone that there is NO WAY they sent an email because you did not get it, instead say 'Hmm that's really strange, I can't seem to find an email matching your name on my system')
- Offer a solution
- Follow up
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