A while ago I wrote a short piece about admitting when you are wrong and what I really should have done is explained how I’ve often seen defensive attitudes on the Internet; typically when somebody has posted a negative comment or review about somebody’s business, a blog post or within one of the many social platforms.
Just recently I came across a few extremely negative comments about a local company. I contacted the person responsible for their website and who, in all likelihood, would be responsible for maintaining the company’s online reputation, to make sure they were aware of these comments. After all, I assumed they would want to follow up on these comments.
A few days later I was speaking to the designer again and was told that the company who was written about in these negative comments had sent an e-mail to Google asking for the reviews to be removed.
After I got myself off the floor (having successfully survived a major laughing attack), we had a lengthy discussion about how to correctly deal with anything on the Internet, whether it is positive or negative, and the unquestionable value of being seen to be dealing with anything negative and ultimately turning a negative situation into a positive.
It takes a very unhappy customer to put pen to paper (so to speak) and write any kind of review and responding in the wrong way, defensively, has long standing consequences.
If somebody has written a negative comment it is the perfect opportunity for a business to engage; to demonstrate they are listening and willing to put things right.
If you take an invasive/defensive attitude on the Internet in response to something somebody said, other people will see it and they get a negative first impression about you and/or your business. Compare that with taking a positive, responsive and helpful action which says a lot about you and your business that would encourage others to become your next customer.
The Internet is the New High Street
Imagine somebody in the Street saying they had done business with a local firm you are aware of and following a bad experience received no help to resolve the problem and would not recommend that business because of the lack of acceptable resolution. You would be tempted to never do business with that firm also.
However, if you heard from a friend that they had had a few problems with a business they had purchased from but the business had gone to extensive lengths to put everything right and the outcome was extremely positive, you would, most likely, have a very positive feeling about the business and would have no reservations about purchasing from them yourself.
The same can be said about everything we see on the Internet!
I’m sure most of us have observed, from time to time, negative reviews being left about a business or a product. The ones that stick in our memories are the ones where the business either failed to follow up on those issues or took an invasive/defensive approach to the situation.
The result is we would be less likely to buy that particular product or do any business with that supplier.
It is essential that you always be alert for any comments made about you or your business and respond in the correct way; doing all you can to help the customer, listening to what the customer is telling you (negative feedback gives you a lot more information about your business than all the positives you will hear), not being afraid of publishing your follow-up comments online for others to see, not simply removing the comment or having it removed for you to avoid the confrontation.
There are many people out there who have a very evasive/defensive attitude and those are the people who will eventually be found out and will, in all likelihood, be far less successful than those with a positive and helpful approach whenever it is required.