There is no one-size-fits-all solution to get rid of negative feedback, bad press, poor opinions, and nasty comments about your small business. You will never be able to please all of the people all of the time. However, there are actions you can take to negate the negativism about your brand.
1. Take immediate action. Don’t assume ignoring the complaint will solve the problem.
2. Ask clarifying questions so you can decide on a plan of action. Are assembly instructions incomplete? Does the widget work differently than promised or simply not as expected? Would another color or size be preferable? Is the client simply trying to get something for nothing?
3. Write to right the wrong. Create content that addresses the perceived concern. If your customers feel they paid too much for their wonder widget, give them a free “25 unexpected ways to use your wonder widget” checklist or create a video about “how the wonder widget can save you money.” Post your information in a variety of formats (audio, video, and text) and locations (in article directories, on your blog and company Web page, on forums, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites).
4. Double check your contract and your guarantee. Have you lived up to your promises? If so, review the contract with the client. Tweet about your guarantee. Post testimonials about your excellent customer service.
5. Find out the real problem behind the criticism and offer a solution you and the nay-sayer can live with today and in the future.
6. If the problem requires a universal solution–you really did omit step four in the assembly guide, for instance–post step-by-step instructions, an audio or video how-to guide, or corrections to the existing manual on your Web site, in your blog, as an article in your newsletter, as links on social media forums, and wherever the original concern appeared.
7. Create so much valuable content in your company’s name that the bad review will fall to the bottom of the search engine list because you have so many articles, blog posts, comments on forums, testimonials and updates on social networking sites, tweets, and fresh Web page content to take its place.
Some bonus advice: know the warning signs of customer dissatisfaction–failure to pay in a timely fashion; ignoring e-mail, phone calls, or other forms of communication; not providing the information or material necessary to complete the work you are doing for them; an abrupt change of attitude; and sharing negative comments with others–so you can be proactive.