Friday, June 27, 2014
Sending the Haters Home
I have a client who is completely annoyed by her Yelpers. Not everyone has a bitch and complaint, but they do crawl under her skin and burrow themselves deep into her patience. It seems like everyone has an opinion about how she should be doing business. Remarkably, she's remained composed and backed off of sounding defensive - good move. As much satisfaction as it might give her to fire back at the "haters", this would only buy her invitations to more fights. But, you can't ignore bad reviews, ignorant statements or mistruths, correct? No you can't. There's a way to handle confrontation from those who are more interested in getting a rise out of you than leaving an insightful review.
Plenty of "haters" online, and most us know it. So, we look for how the company responds as a sign as to whether the "hating" is justified or not. This is advice for the real world as well as the online world - apologizing for someone's troubles is not the same as admitting fault. Acknowledge their disappointment, apologize for being the focal point for cause, restate your policy, convey that you will follow up to make sure this policy is being enforced, and ask them to connect with you offline to provide them with a remedy that better connects with the experience they had expected. This makes you look responsive and empathetic - which is all that observers are looking for. The truth doesn't matter - it's about perception. If you think I offended you - I probably offended you. Your response will either douse the flames or pour gasoline on them - you get to decide.