Handling Negative Comments

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    Quality response is key

    The surging popularity of social reviews by customers, along with the increasing heed they are paid by those seeking to hire a contractor or make a purchase, makes responding to and resolving complaints a major priority. Many will be rational, some will be pure emotional venting, and yes, there will be the trolls that are out to catch their jollies by provoking a rise out of you. The following quote, from a Social Axis blog post, holds some solid advice to get you on your way:

    If someone is leaving negative comments about your company, respond! Even if they are intentionally attacking your company (or ‘trolling’), then invite them to please contact you directly so you can help them with their issues. And remember, if someone is leaving comments that personally attack your employees or customers, or that contain profanity or inflammatory language, you should delete them. Now if they are simply saying that they think your company sucks, deleting these types of comments will tend to draw more of the same. People can see when someone has crossed the line with the tone of their comments, and they won’t fault a blogging company for deleting comments in this case.

    We would like to amend this with one recommendation – if the trolling is taking place on another forum or blog that you do not control, it’s often not a good idea to post your response there. Many times it will only serve to drive more views to the offending page, when your true goal is to attract them to your own.

    If you need more motivation to ensure stakeholders are happy on a daily basis, the popularity of social review means another thing – when negative comments surface, fans of your company will often leap to its defense, backing you up and creating a powerful crisis management force.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]