Embrace the negative review.

Embrace the negative review.

Eleven years into this business and I still get the request from clients “can we remove that negative comment on our Facebook post?” Um. No. You can’t. Again, the answer is a resounding “No.”

I get where the client is going with this. They don’t want the negative commentary out there on their page. They think it makes them look bad. But here’s the thing, and I’m going to level with you. Not everyone is going to be a raving fan of your business. They just aren’t. It could be a former employee that pissed them off or your pricing or some unreasonable request you wouldn’t honor, but for whatever reason, there are going to be people who aren’t happy with your company, and they feel it is their duty and right to post about it online. Kindness seems to go out the window when you get an irate person behind a keyboard.

So my first advice is to accept that.

The next thing you have to accept, and yes I said “have to” is: if you can get them to stop posting on your page, where is it you think they’re going? Anywhere and everywhere, that’s where. They’ll go to review sites, they’ll post on their personal page, they’ll put that negativity out there. So let me tell you what needs to happen here:

  1. You need to let them post if they are upset. They feel this is how you’ll hear them. So, do that. Hear them.
  2. You need to manage that post.

Negative posts do not live in a vacuum. They are an OPPORTUNITY to spin the commentary a different way. Think about this – if you sell a line of food products, for example, and someone comments on your page that they don’t like one of those products, don’t take that as a negative – take it as an opportunity. Here, I’ll give you an example:

Commenter: “I don’t like your peanut butter bars. They taste weird.” The maker of the peanut butters is highly offended, angry and insulted. So they want to delete it. But consider this – there are others out there who don’t like those peanut butter bars. Your customer is talking to you. They want to be heard. So here are some examples of better responses than just deleting their post:

“So sorry you aren’t a fan of our peanut butter bars. Everyone has different taste buds. We hope you’ve had a chance to try our brand-new cinnamon bun bars.”

“Thanks for providing that feedback. We have heard that some really enjoy those bars sprinkled over a Greek yogurt. Have you tried them that way?”

“Your opinion matters to us. Thank you for sharing it with us. We’d love to send you a private message to get more information so we can continue to improve our flavors.”

Consider even sending a coupon code to get them to try again (I recommend sending that by private message).

Here are some of the reasons I never delete negative posts (unless they consist of bad language or are publicly inappropriate):

  • Deleting a post tells a customer their opinion doesn’t matter, that THEY don’t matter.
  • You very well could be infringing on someone’s rights to freedom of speech and I wouldn’t be surprised if they called you out for it – which would be worse than not liking your product.
  • Any page that only has positive commentary is suspicious, because come on… get real.
  • In order to authentically represent your brand, you have to show all sides. You just need to be sure to respond appropriately.

So don’t be afraid of the negative reviews. Your customers are where you get ideas for a path to improvement. The power of social media is just that – power. On both sides. That customer may never like your peanut butter bars, but they could very well turn into a raving fan of one of your other products – and your authenticity and communication will go a long way in making that happen.

And, hey, while you’re obsessing over negative reviews, don’t forget to stop and say thank you for the positive reviews – those customers want you to hear them too!

Inundated with reviews and not sure how to handle them? Yep, we can help. Call Shane at 502-533-1328 for more information.

 

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