Take a Deep Breath
When you come across criticism of your product, service, company or even yourself – take a deep breath. Before you unleash your inner monster on the person; stop and calm down. Nobody ever did anything valuable for reputation management in a fit of rage. It will depend on what kind of person you are as to how long that deep breath needs to last. I have a rule that if I am absolutely furious; I won’t do anything for 24 hours. For you it might be 5 minutes or a week.
Recognize This as an Opportunity to Demonstrate Your Value
I, and I suspect others too, am suspicious of companies with perfect public reputations. I have worked in sales and customer services for much of my life and no matter how good the company or how good the people representing it are – there’s always been a problem (or ten) to resolve. A bad review is not the end of the world; it happens to absolutely everyone.
What matters is how you respond to that review. It’s a chance to show potential customers that you care, that your business matters to you and so do your clients.
Thank the Person for Their Comment
That’s right, say thank you for their feedback. It doesn’t mean that you agree with it but it does show that you intend to deal with the issue with respect and without hostility. You’d be amazed at how many businesses fail this simple test. Do you really want other customers to think you have no manners?
Respond with Your Reputation in Mind
Yesterday, I used the example of a restaurant which attacked a Facebook user for saying their hamburger wasn’t very good. If they’d have approached the conversation with their reputation in mind they could have turned this into a PR opportunity instead:
“Hi, thank you for your feedback. We’re sorry that you didn’t feel our burger was to your tastes. Most of our customers are very happy with our burgers perhaps it was just an off night? Anyway, we’d like to make it up to you.Please contact me and we’ll arrange for you to come back and try the burger again and talk through your experiences so we can better serve you in future. My name’s Jim and I’m the manager here. I am on duty every day except Sunday from 5 p.m. until we close.”
What’s the value of a burger to the business? $5? $10? That free burger just gave you a great advert for potential customers. They’ll see that someone was unhappy. That you tried to resolve the issue fairly and proportionately. That your business has a human face. That’s got to be good for your reputation doesn’t it?
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