Handling the Hate
We’ve heard it countless times and as professional communicators, we probably have this engrained in our minds – communication is a multi-directional flow of information and feedback.
Needless to say, it could leave us upset, disgruntled, glum and in a state of unhappiness. Feelings and emotions aside, more serious implications could arise as well like having negative light shed on your company, bad press and possibly the subsequent loss of clients in the future. More often than not, we would want to retaliate – and who can blame you?
But hold your tongue/fingers! Given the fact that we are in the business of communication, it is mandatory for us to maintain an appropriate level of professionalism and decorum while still standing our ground. Here are some tips to that will come in handy as you prepare to tackle the difficult task of resolving sticky situations.
Do not react out of anger
We understand completely. A negative review or statement may be frustrating, especially if it contains elements that are untrue. But remember, the worst thing that you can do is to reply in a defensive manner. Take some time out; soothe yourself and when Zen has been re-attained, decide the best course of action from there on.
The negative review may be the result of various reasons, so it is important to carefully assess the accusation, by getting down to the root of the matter. If there is even the slightest hint of truth, own up to it. By doing so, it shows that you are taking responsibility for your actions which in turn proves reliability and the ability to handle issues in a mature and professional manner.
Try talking offline
Some websites have the option of maintaining anonymity while some do not. If you encounter bad reviews on the latter platforms, chances are you would have a better idea of who the person posting the review is and how to deal accordingly. You could consider contacting them offline to settle the matter. By offering to listen to them vent and addressing their concerns (remember to be understanding and calm!), there is a chance that the individual would revise the negative review.
If it is not possible to contact the person who posted the review offline, you could simply reply to the negative post directly. You could urge the reviewer to contact you so that the matter could be worked on and hopefully, towards a resolution. By taking this approach, you get to show that you care about the issues raised, and are genuinely interested in improving your services.
Think before you leap
Of course conflicts don’t always end up being resolved peacefully. What can be done then? You may be tempted to file a lawsuit against the person who posted the bad review. However, there is a high likelihood that this would backfire as it could even bring unwanted attention to the situation. So stay strong, grit your teeth, stand your ground. If need be, and this would be the last option, just drop the matter and move on.
As far as possible, try to channel the negative feedback in a way that would result in a better outcome for your company – yes, it is very possible! A great way to encourage positive client or audience interaction is to periodically conduct surveys to gauge their feelings and seek out their opinions from the get go. This will help to avoid or limit negative feedback in the future.
By Yasmin Md Basir, PR Associate @ Corporate Media Services