If there is one thing the age of social media has taught us, it is that everyone has haters, and dealing with haters (or negative reviews), is something every business will have to do. From Taylor Swift to Justin Bieber, and Kanye West to the sandwich guy on the corner, no one can escape the Internet’s mighty wrath. Now, we hope your clients have been listening to your (highly educated) preaching, and we hope they have started to make strides towards receiving more reviews from their customers. Maybe they are just getting started by creating accounts on a few listing sites, or maybe they have jumped in with both feet by trying out our awesome new (I swear, this blog is completely unbiased) Review Generation tool. Either way, they are probably realizing that a whole bunch of good reviews usually means at least a couple negative ones, too. No worries, though—we are here to help! With assistance from a few notable teachers, here are some tips for dealing with haters the right way:
Accept that Haters are Gonna Hate
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this dated-but-still-hilarious list of one-star reviews for national parks. No matter how great you are doing, there will always be a few people who wish the soup was soupier, the rooms were roomier, or the cave was just slightly less cavernous. If you keep that in mind, negative reviews can start to feel a lot less like a kick in the gut, and a lot more like what they really are: a great source of feedback. That defensive feeling? Shake it off. Haters are going to hate, but that is okay.
2. Say Sorry
In a lot of cases, your haters are really just looking for a genuine, human acknowledgement of their experience. Everyone makes mistakes and, as the Biebs pointed out in his hit single “Sorry,” sometimes you need to accept that you let another person down and offer a heartfelt apology. Justin didn’t mean to drag race in Miami with an expired driver’s license, and you didn’t mean to arrive at the work site late after that flat tire. Still, these things can happen, and the point is to learn from your mistakes. Take responsibility. Apologize. Your previous haters (or the hordes of screaming fans) will respect you for it. Take a look at these awesome responses to negative reviews—all of them acknowledge that something went awry, then sprinkle some marketing magic on the situation to make it better.
3. Leave the @ Key Alone
Remember that time Kanye got into it with Amber Rose and Wiz on Twitter? Or when he and Taylor duked it out primarily via song lyrics and award show speeches? While online fights can be entertaining for the rest of us, they rarely reflect well on either party, solve the problem or result in anyone leaving happy. Assuming you want people to continue frequenting your business (or attending your album release party/fashion shows), a one-on-one is a better option. When you respond to haters, finish your reply by inviting them to contact you directly. If your haters aren’t content with your initial response, you get the chance to discuss the issue privately and see what you can do to turn haters into fans.
4. Redirect the Attention
Despite a few haters, you may have noticed that Taylor, Justin and Kanye are all doing pretty well for themselves. Taylor just won her second Grammy for best album, Justin recently surpassed The Beatles’ record for most songs on the Hot 100, and Kanye… well maybe let’s not get into that one. The point is that negative reviews are a great opportunity to redirect readers towards the information you want them to see. Whether the business has won a big award in their city, just celebrated their 10th anniversary, or have served hundreds or thousands of happy customers, this is their chance to invite haters (and anyone else reading their review), to see another side of the business. Just keep it humble and human, because no one wants to hear that you think you are “50% more influential than Picasso” (Really, Kanye? C’mon).
Reviews are a good thing, even the negative ones, but dealing with them isn’t always intuitive. There are four review situations businesses should avoid entirely, and although dealing with negative reviews isn’t always fun, it can be turned into marketing magic. With these tips, we hope you and your clients can start responding to hate with love, and can continue to build great business relationships.