How Businesses Can Effectively Deal with Online Negativity
Since the dawn of the Internet, for everything good it brings, we have always been faced with the other side of the story. In this ever-connected world which promises instantaneous information, we have to of course deal with online negativity. The cyber troll comes in multiple different forms, but the one which affects businesses most prevalently is the bad online comment. From TripAdvisor reviews to Google rankings there are many different platforms it can exist in, but if it is not dealt with it will haunt and hinder your business in the long run.
"Everything you put out into cyberspace will be immortalised forever"
At the best of times, negativity online is difficult to deal with as it is a comment that has been put out into a public space before you’ve had the chance to placate the situation or voice your opinion on the problem. As we’ve seen with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, personal reviews are held in incredibly high esteem and a reputation is very easily damaged by handling a situation badly. So, this is why businesses need to deal with negative comments online very carefully.
While the online world is a difficult melting pot to manage and one which you must be very cautious with – as everything you put out into cyberspace will be immortalised forever, it can be managed quite easily as long as you stick to a few key principles. Every company has their values and ways of dealing with problems that are representative of the type of business they are. For example, are you a company that puts the customer at the heart of everything and will always send them a refund following a bad experience? Or, are you a company that believes it is more important to turn a negative experience into a positive one and, so you would go above and beyond to provide a personal apology to your customer? Whatever it is that you do, or that your company is known for when it comes to customer service, I firmly believe that however your company would react offline, this should be mirrored online.
"However your company would react offline, this should be mirrored online"
This being said, the online world is very different to the offline one because of the aforementioned ‘fast-paced’ nature. Therefore, if you don’t react to a negative online comment in a timely manner, then it will most likely fester and snowball in a very ugly way. When dealing with negativity online, I would always suggest the faster the response the better, this has a twofold positive effect. Firstly, it will help to get the customer back on side, as they will see you are prioritising them and taking the necessary steps to fix the problem. Secondly, it will send out a good message to the online world, half the battle with having an internet presence is managing your perception. If you can posit yourself as a business which values their customers and responds quickly to online comments, then you will appear favourably to future consumers.
Above all, often honesty is appreciated. Whoever is commenting online knows that they are speaking to a human at the other end, and no one is perfect. So as long as you stick to your company values and ways of dealing with problems, respond quickly and pepper this with a little honesty, your business should be able to manage any negativity in a meticulous manner.
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