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What should you do if you receive negative feedback about your services or product on a social network or website?

Most importantly, no matter what the feedback is - do not panic and keep a cool mind!

It is hard to imagine a business that has not had at least one dissatisfied customer in its entire history.

A product may be perfect for a group of people, but it is impossible to create the perfect product for absolutely all potential customers. This means that avoiding dissatisfaction with some customers is almost impossible.

Follow the rules below and you will be able to turn any negative situation to the benefit of your business.


Rule number 1. Do not under any circumstances ignore it!


If a person found time in himself and expressed a negative about your product, then you disappointed him very much. If you leave his message without an answer or reaction, then he will definitely strengthen his opinion, plus he will convey his negative experience to every reader of the message left (and there can be hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of such readers).

Be sure to respond to his message.


Rule number 2. Answer as quickly as possible.


Time is your enemy in this case. The longer you prepare an answer, the more the client will become stronger in a negative opinion about you and the more people will have time to read his “unanswered” claim against you.

Statistically, if you can solve a customer's problem within 24 hours, you'll be able to retain 95% of those customers.

If you take more than a day to solve the problem, then the customer retention rate will drop to 46%.

An experienced marketer always has pre-prepared templates for responding to negative reviews or comments, so as not to lose precious minutes or hours at the right time.

Let's talk further about what content your answer should have.


Rule number 3. The answer must be empathy.


Not everyone has a sense of empathy. Therefore, in no case do not allow a person with an atrophied sense of empathy to communicate with clients.

In this case, even a solved problem can leave the client unsatisfied, because in dealing with such people there is a strong feeling that you have not been heard. Even if the problem is eventually resolved, the client may remain emotionally negative. Without a sense of empathy, it is very difficult to properly listen to a person.

Show in the answer that you share the concerns of your client, show empathy for his emotional state. Let him know that his opinion is important to you, that he is respected and that he is heard.


Rule number 4. Look at the situation from the client's point of view.


If you received a negative response from a client, then you did not satisfy him with your work. The objectivity and adequacy of his claims is the last question. The main thing is that in his picture of the world you did not meet his expectations.

To respond wisely to a negative review or comment, look at the situation through your customer's eyes. This will allow you to better immerse yourself in the situation and be more objective both in writing an answer and in choosing further ways to solve the problem.


Rule number 5. Don't deny anything.


Any denial leads to confrontation. If you begin to deny his words, you will actually devalue his review, his opinion, and show disrespect for his words. To put it bluntly, he will feel like a fool.

Even if somewhere the client misunderstood the situation and really did something stupid, let him save face, do not lead the client into a dead end, denying his claims or his negative experience. On the contrary, agree with him, share his experiences, and thus, you will be able to neutralize his negative emotions by setting him up for a calm, constructive dialogue.


Rule number 6. Don't get defensive.


Any defensive reaction automatically makes the interlocutors opponents in the dispute. Don't rush to defend yourself.

Be open with the person. Play the role of a psychologist, let the person voice the problem, show readiness for an objective solution to the current situation and show that you are on the client's side.


Rule number 7. Taboo on the expressions "but", "nevertheless", "and yet".


Such words usually devalue the previous statement of the interlocutor. Therefore, try not to use these expressions in your answer. As a last resort, indicate what you agree with in the review and what you don’t. This will not cause confrontation and will allow further constructive dialogue without devaluing the client's words.


Rule number 8. Be honest, but dose honesty in the best interest of business.


Assess the whole situation. See what damage can be done to your reputation or the reputation of your company if the client finds out the whole truth about the current situation and the reason for the error. Perhaps we should embellish the situation or come up with some kind of plausible legend for this story.

It is more important for your client to solve the problem than to find out the whole truth. Therefore, if you are able to really solve this issue, then you can follow the reputational interests of your business regarding the cause.

Sometimes honesty and speed give more pluses to reputation. But there are such fails that it is better not to know the truth to anyone under the threat of execution. In this case, use the "legend" method.


Rule number 9. Be proactive.


Passivity is never a plus. If you are in the process of resolving a problem and need additional time, then notify your disgruntled customer.

Take the initiative and show that you have not forgotten about him. Let him know the exact time when the issue will be resolved. Notify him of progress in solving his problem.


Rule number 10. Don't delete negative feedback.


Try not to delete negative reviews. There are only a few exceptions when this can be done:

1) if the review contains a lot of foul language;

2) if the review is by all indications falsified or spammy;

3) if you solved the user's problem and received permission to delete the review from the user himself (although in most cases a visually solved client's problem can only add dividends to you).


Rule number 11. Forget the phrase "Black PR is also PR."


This rule only works in show business, where the recognition and popularity index is strategically important. There are even scandals at hand. In b2b, black PR can be a powerful nail in the coffin of your business. So direct all your efforts to prevent such situations, and if they arise, to resolve them as soon as possible.


Rule number 12. Do not overemphasize the positive attitude in your response.


If you upset a person and gave him unpleasant emotions, then it is strategically important not to cheer him up, but to give vent to his negative emotions. You will not be able to cheer him up if the discontent remains inside him. That is why it is important to listen to a dissatisfied customer.

If the user sees that they have heard him and they are trying to solve his problem without making a fool out of him, but with understanding for his situation, then at that moment the emotions have reached their goal and the person receives an emotional discharge.

A common mistake is to try to drown out the complaints with positivity, preventing the client from "unloading" their emotions.

Follow the right logic and add positive only after you have given the user the opportunity to express their problem in full.


Rule number 13. Exceed expectations.


After resolving a client's problem, find something to win over the client. Give him some kind of bonus, present a valuable gift, or come up with something else that is within the framework of the value that the user expected from you to receive initially.

If you can exceed the expectation of an initially dissatisfied customer and surprise him with some kind of gift, then not only will you remove the negativity that has arisen, but you will also have the most dedicated advocate for your brand.


The author of the article is the head of the agency of strategic Internet marketing - Vlad Sidnev.

About the author - Vadim Steblinsky