Thursday, 25 October 2012

How to handle to negative comments

No matter how successful your business is, you are always going to find that there are people who are going to either have a bad experience or just put a negative comment on your site for the sake of it. Particularly on your social media pages, one negative comment can have a detrimental affect on your business. However, it is how you respond to the negative criticism that is going to determine it's affect.

Don't respond straight away

If you are the person who set up your ecommerce store and spent hours and hours building it up from the ground, any negative comments people have about your business is going to be taken more personally by you than it would anyone else. When you do come across a negative comment, don't respond to it straight away. Give yourself to take in what they say and relax. You don't want to act on your emotions and say something that may harm your business in the long term.

Don't just delete all negative comments

As you want your business to have nothing but positive feedback in order to give it the best chance of being as successful as possible, it's easy to simply delete a negative comment as soon as you see it. However, just simply disregarding someone's opinion is one of the worst ways to handle the situation. Firstly, if that person is commenting on a problem they found when using your online store, just deleting the comment doesn't allow you to potentially solve the issue, meaning more people in the future will also come across this problem. 

Secondly, there is very little chance you will be able to delete a negative comment before anyone else has seen it. Deleting a comment will not only annoy the original poster, compelling them to post again, it will damage your credibility in the eyes of your other customers as just deleting the comment makes you seem much less trustworthy.

Provide alternatives

If someone leaves a comment either on your store itself or on your social media pages with a problem they encountered or an issue they had while visiting your online store, do your best to try and remedy this problem for them or find suitable alternatives. Not only does this give you the best chance of having the customer return to your store in the future to try and make another purchase, it also allows everyone else who either views your store or followers your social media page to see that you have made every possible attempt to solve the users concern, improving your business's public perception. 

Remember who's watching

Particularly on forums and social media sites, you need to always remember that, although you might be answering the concerns and issues of one individual, there are many other people who haven't commented who are also watching. When responding you should be professional and courteous, having one person posting negative comments about your business is one thing, but other people taking offence because of something you have said in response to a comment is a problem you want to try and avoid. 

Carry out some research

If someone has left a negative comment about your business or service on a forum for example, check not only your ecommerce software to see what transactions they have carried out on your store, but also see what other things the user has commented on within that forum. You may find that isn't just your business the individual has commented on. If they have left a number of negative comments about a number of other businesses then you know that person is just writing a negative comment for the sake of it and you can simply discredit it.

Personalise their issue

When you get someone leaving a comment regarding a genuine issue they are having, you don't just want to essentially brush them off, giving then the usual script and leaving them to go on their way. When someone has a concern you want to try and make them as valued as possible, meaning that you may decide to contact them personally through their email or give them your own personal email address for them to contact you and give you more information about the issue, rather than just asking them to send a message to your generic sales address and wait for a reply. While this may not help you keep that user as a customer, it limits the amount of negative publicity that user will give about your business to their friends and other social media followers.

Sometimes don't respond at all

While you want to try and respond to all comments in a polite and professional way, sometimes it is better just not to respond at all. Especially on your social media pages, people write negative comments about your business just because they can and nothing you say in response is going to change that. The more you comment, the more other people become aware of it and before you know it the comment has escalated so much that it begins having an affect on your brand image. Sometimes it's just better to let it die and for people to forget about it, rather than attempting to change their opinion.

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