Last week I spoke to a business group about the power of Facebook. During the conversation, someone asked me about reputation management and dealing with negative comments. My belief is that we should embrace negative comments and be glad people are sharing.
When they tell us about their experiences, they give us a chance to appreciate the good ones and fix the bad ones. Negative comments aren’t bad when we are aware of them. They’re only bad when we don’t hear them. When someone has a bad experience, chances are they are going to tell someone. If the experience is really bad, or they are really upset, they will probably tell a lot of people.
If they aren’t telling us too, we are giving them the upper hand. They now have influence over what people believe about our company.
When they share their thoughts with us as well, we now have the chance to address the situation and fix it. And, when they share on social media, we have the chance to show everyone else how we handle adversity. We can increase the loyalty of our clients, including that person, when we openly address difficult situations.
People want to be heard, and they want to be validated. Acknowledge their experience, apologize and repair the problem. They will thank you and everyone else will see how much you value your clients and connections.
So you see, how we deal with negativity can make the difference.
After my presentation, one of the audience members asked to speak with me about this subject. She works for a nonprofit and they were disparaged on their Facebook Fan Page by someone who was very upset. She was wondering what to do about it. After talking with her for a little while, I came to understand that she had tried several times to address the situation and get resolution.
Unfortunately, the individual could not be satisfied. This woman was concerned about the impact that thread could have on others. She really felt that the organization was being slandered.
What would you do in this circumstance?
I told her that in this case, I would call the individual to try talking to them. And then, I’d remove the thread from my Fan Page. There is a point beyond which you can’t positively impact an outcome. If you hit that point, don’t be afraid to remove the situation from public view. You don’t want to say anything bad about the person who complains. Just remove the discussion.
If anyone asks about it, you can politely explain that resolution wasn’t realized through the online exchange so you moved it to a private conversation. Then emphasize how much your company values it’s clients and feedback. They know you well so they will understand.
When you are providing a valuable service and customer care, the majority of your contacts will respect and value you. They will understand that sometimes a problem occurs. And when you deal with it head on, their respect will increase.
At the same time, if you have an untenable situation, they will understand that too. We all know there are people who you just can’t please. Most people are reasonable and understanding. So, don’t avoid the negative; embrace it.
You can actually increase loyalty and connection through negativity.
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