An unpleasant part of business ownership is the double-edged sword of putting yourself out there with your amazing product or service. Sometimes you’ll change someone’s life with your offering, and sometimes you’ll get negative feedback, or worse… you’ll get bullied.
While you can constructively learn from honest feedback, you don’t have to put up with someone who is trashing your business and dragging you down. Here are some tips on how to recognise the difference and what to do about both.
Storytime! I was just chatting with an entrepreneur who found herself in a sticky situation with a client and was quite worried about it.
The scenario goes like this…
‘Person A’ bought a pair of boots. They didn’t fit correctly. ‘Person A’ contacted the business and told them. The business offered to return for a refund or replace it with a different brand. ‘Person A’ chose not to do either and wear them for OVER A YEAR!
Now ‘Person A’ comes back… (a year later by the way…) saying the boots were not fit for purpose because they don’t fit her, and is threatening legal action to get a full refund.
Honestly, in what universe would the customer win this one?
I’ll tell you what is the most upsetting about this. The business did nothing wrong, yet is now worried and upset because someone is making bully-like threats that are just unreasonable.
These are challenging situations for businesses, not to mention stressful ones. There are a few key things to remember when trying to navigate a similar situation in your business.
First, make sure your terms and conditions are crystal clear. This gives you solid support when you respond IN WRITING. Make sure all your communications with the customer are in writing. Lastly–as tempting as it is–don’t respond in anger and don’t cave into bullies if you did nothing wrong.
I like to do a “brain dump/angry” email response, then delete and write a professional response. The reason this works is you are able to work through your frustration with the situation before drafting an appropriate response.
Super KEY…do this in a different document, not the email itself in case it accidentally sends!
Negative feedback is another element (sometimes monster) that comes free of charge for any and every business. Recently I saw a page that had some negative feedback and the page owner did not handle it well. These types of responses really turn off people reading the reviews and made me realize it might be worth chatting about.
You need to remember there are two types of feedback: people leaving nasty, unreasonable, or unfair comments or people leaving comments with a valid complaint or issue. In general, the response for handling either of these is fairly similar. Whether the customer was well-meaning or not, you may need to develop some thick skin when it comes to feedback.
First, stay professional and respectful. Responding in anger, arguing with the customer, or putting them down not only reflects badly on you but will likely inflame the situation. If you were in the wrong, offer the customer a resolution in a short, on-topic written response.
Remember – don’t write anything you aren’t prepared for EVERYONE to see. Screenshot warriors are out there and ready to share everything you have sent them.
Once you have addressed the issue, move on. Replaying the negative feedback over and over again for a month isn’t going to help you. Learn from it if you need to, deal with it if possible, and then let it go.
Be Elsa and “Let it Go….”
Dealing with unpleasant situations is a part of being an entrepreneur, but we can all learn to grow strong and move forward from it.
It even happened to me recently, I found that someone that had been removed from my Facebook group from some very bad behavior said some pretty nasty things about me in another large group. Totally untrue and it was very upsetting.
Thankfully, I reminded myself that I am good enough, not everyone has to love me, nasty comments are a reflection of the speaker and not me, and other people’s opinion of me is their business, not mine….to name a few.
Unfortunately, the haters, bullies, and copiers can make you feel like you want to crawl into a hole and never come out. While that sounds nice for a moment, you do need to come back out into the world and keep going.
I know…it is tough. I REALLY get it. But all of this will make you stronger as a business owner and help you serve your clients even better going forward!