Turn Negative Online Comments into Business Opportunities

Posted on February 29th 2012

Turn Negative Online Comments into Business Opportunities

Have you heard the phrase: “Any publicity is good publicity” before?

It’s commonly used in the entertainment industry to refer to actors who are in the press because of something bad they have done. While not necessarily how the actor may wish to be represented, being in the press means exposure. Exposure translates to opportunities which translate to money.

In the hand of a good publicist, most public figures can take bad press and can turn it into something useful for their careers.

If only we all had such a publicist on our payroll…

The reality is that most business owners are afraid to get online because of exposure to “bad” publicity. They fear a disgruntled former employee bad mouthing them publicly or an unhappy customer coming to complain about their service. They fear that such negative reactions will drive potential business away.

I say take a chapter from the rich and the famous and turn “any publicity into good publicity”. It’s easier than you think. Take these steps to turn a potentially negative response into something positive for your business:

  • Do not get defensive. Whomever is complaining is doing it out of emotion. By allowing yourself to become swept into those emotions, you will quickly drown.
  • Invite engagement. Allow the person to share their negative experience and even ask them for specifics. You may find that by doing so you can gain a better understand of the problem and potentially find a solution that will fix the issue all together.
  • Know your limits. There are just some situations where you just aren’t able to help someone or something, like having to let go of someone. Be willing to accept and even admit to those limits. It’s a powerful testament to your potential customers if you’re willing to share your weaknesses along with your strengths.
  • Take it offline. If you find even after your best efforts that you can’t seem to resolve the issue through discussions online, invite this person to talk to you in person or through some other more personal means of communication. Often times it is easier for people to be angry and upset through media like the Internet, but they can be more reasonable if they realize it’s a real person they are dealing with.

    While it’s never a desired form of input, you can easily turn even the most negative publicity into something positive for your company and business.

    So don’t let the fear of “bad” comments turn you away from the amazing opportunities online marketing has to offer.

    Comments

    donnamoritz
    Posted on March 1st 2012 at 11:57AM

    Great article Caroline! Love your tips - especially to "invite engagement".  At the very least, when it comes to complaints, I try to remember to treat the person online as you would if they were standing right in front of you in the reception area of your business. That often helps a lot too. Thanks for sharing! 

    whatleyc
    Posted on March 2nd 2012 at 10:28PM

    I completely agree with you Donna. In this technology-heavy world, it's nice to be treated as a real person.  Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    cmv925
    Posted on March 4th 2012 at 4:00PM

    Excellent article.

    I was just telling a restaurant owner to respond to the bad review. I informed the owner that silence is consent and you can expect loss revenue for not taking action. Quick solution that I came up with was to create a two customer surveys; one to be filled while for service and online one using survey monkey. I then took the good ones and spread across the citation sites. Immediate results.