Whether you love the Donald or hate him, he finally got President Obama to release his birth certificate publicly. Some people say Obama shouldn’t have done it at all. I disagree. He should have done it a long time ago before it ever got to this point, just like your business needs to address negative reviews and comments before they get out of hand.
If you have a business, you’re a public figure
Love it or hate it, businesses today are more public. Customers comment on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and publish their thoughts on their personal blogs. You don’t have to answer every single comment, but companies who do show responsiveness generate immediate respect.
A nauseous customer on Twitter – what do you do?
When a customer had a bad burrito at Boloco (@boloco on Twitter), an east-coast burrito restaurant, the business responded within the hour. Sure, they could have ignored it, and the customer might have been exaggerating. Still, they didn’t ignore it, and won more mentions and even praise from the consumer who initially made the complaint. The whole case is mentioned in a recent post by Aaron Lee about restaurants that use social media to address bad reviews. The company is serious about making sure their customers are happy, giving them a real, direct email for customers if they have an issue, and responding quickly.
This specific situation never had a chance to get out of hand. It was handled fast and by real people without any corporate-speak or defensiveness.
They took my son!
Do you remember this story from more than a year ago? A woman blogged a long and shocking story that the TSA had taken her son from her during a security screening at the airport. When the TSA heard about it, THAT DAY someone addressed her story on the TSA blog, including video from several angles. The woman’s story was proved false quickly, and the TSA was praised for its transparency.
Lessons for dealing with loudmouths
- Act. Don’t do nothing. Don’t let it sit. Don’t say “no comment.” Even if the customer is crazy, wrong, or both.
- Act quickly. In both of the above cases, potentially harmful business situations were resolved right away before they got out of control. For Obama, even though the people who first asked for his birth certificate several years ago were pretty nuts, he should have just produced it. What’s the big deal? Show it and get it over with, and move on.
- Don’t be defensive. Both Bocolo and the TSA weren’t defensive. Bocolo acknowledged the situation and asked how they could help. The TSA simply showed “the facts,” and left its blog post open to commentary.
In the end, don’t let negativity get you down! Studies show that even negative reviews help drive sales.
Has your company had to deal with negative reviews or public criticism? What did you do?