As a creative, you pour your heart and soul into your business. You are working hard to grow it on a daily basis. Learning tricks, researching tips, picking up cues. And then along comes your first negative review or comment,and you are down in the dumps. It’s natural to want to react immediately or aggressively defend your stance. But this is where you need to show the most restraint. Long and hard days, busy days, no sale days sick days - none of those compare to negative review days. There are a lot of liberties that customers may take when writing scathing reviews knowing that there is a screen between you and them; words that they would otherwise never say to a person’s face. It’s a task to not think about these words that catch you off guard, ad you may even think about it for days. So, how should you handle negative feedback? In a nutshell; find the silver lining; and here’s how:
Read Between the Lines
Always remember that when customers go off on a menacing rant, there is usually a core issue for their displeasure. While critique from customers may rarely seem constructive because they are writing from the perspective of anger and displeasure with your product, try to read between the lines and see what triggered this reaction. So instead of becoming upset, ask yourself what you can learn from the customer’s feedback. Maybe you got behind on shipping because, maybe you slipped with using less protective shipping packaging, perhaps you forgot to do a quality check before shipping the item. Don’t get us wrong - we are not asking you to entertain customers who are acting entitled, like when they expect their parcels to arrive the next day just because Amazon does it, but where you see value in making changes on your part, work to make it happen.
In A World Where You Can Be Anything, Be Kind
We all have really bad days, just part and parcel of adult-ing. As a seller, you might not be at fault and might have gotten a bad review for no reason at all. But, if react with anger it only fosters negative energy in your life. You put anger into your response, you will get an even angrier response back if possible. Times like these call for you to write and re-write and re-re-write and then maybe re-re-re write your response to the customer. Once you’ve written a reply take a step back and try to see if your answer sounds angry or defensive or non-chalant. See if your response acknowledges their issues and points, and then follows up (kindly) with how the issue if out of your hands. Remember this is only after you have assessed the situation and realised that there is no fault on your end. If the mistake is yours, as small as it may seem to you, grow a humble pair and apologise for the mistake and see how you can make it up to them. Whatever the case may be, respond with kindness.
Reply, Don’t React
A reaction moment based and doesn’t take into consideration its long term effects. A reaction is survival-oriented and at some level a type of defence mechanism. Often a reaction is something you regret later. A reply, however, is based on information from both the conscious mind and unconscious mind, and is usually better thought out. You know like all those times you rewrite a text message to get your point across rather than just yell at the person on the other end? If you want to be a successful business owner, you’ll now what we are getting at right now. Never react - always reply. A reply just means you are responding to a comment in a more well thought out (and hopefully less aggressive) manner. Your customer may not be happy with your response - but trust us, it will be a better second comment than if you were to instantly react and come across as defensive.
Stick With It
You have drafted a reply with kindness. You have hit that send button. Now don’t dwell on it. If you’ve read between the lines and filtered the constructive feedback out of the angry ridden review, then take that back with you and work on it for future sales. If you replied with kindness to what seemed like an endless (and pointless) rant, then know that you did your part and you can no longer control the customer’s reactions. You can only control your own. Make a conscious effort to focus on the positive, and kill the negativity that would otherwise take over your thoughts.
Let It Go
As simple as it sounds. You have done everything in your power. Now let it go and move on. You’ve tried to appease the customer if you were in the wrong, or you replied with kindness and politely corrected the customer. Now just let it go.
Negative reviews are bound to crop up. If not a negative review that angry private feedback. You could have covered all your tracks and explained everything perfectly well on your website, but you will still end up with customers complaining about things. Remember - they are probably going through their own battles. Practice the steps above, and you’ll find yourself able to better handle the pressures of negative reviews and comments.