In many aspects of our lives, we have little control over the people we interact with daily. Clients, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family members are among the relationships we all share.
NO TIME FOR NEGATIVE NELLY?
No one looks forward to working with a Negative Nelly.
Nor do we gravitate to people who are known to be inconsiderate or downright indignant, whether it’s a friend who exists in the negative. Or a mother-in-law whose judgmental behavior has turned you against her or perhaps the dear client who posts a nasty complaint because of their unrealistic demands.
No matter the situation, it takes a level of finesse to manage these challenging situations. If you’re a business owner, it is an art worth further developing to rectify ‘the situation’ before it gravely impacts your business.
Is the client or customer, always right?
Granted, at times, emotions can get away from any client. They may be justified for various reasons. But no entrepreneur deserves to be negatively impacted by a targeted outburst, rude comment, or racial slurs. It is unacceptable. As do you, a client deserves the level of care, regard, and overall respect anyone expects when entering a buyer-seller relationship.
BUT…… The key here lies in how you respond to the matter and, essentially, how you maintain a healthy, respectful relationship with your client, so they are:
- satisfied and 2) will be a repeat client or customer who speaks highly of you and/or of your business.
This, of course, is about a client who may request a refund or replacement of the item they purchased. Or perhaps a customer who is, for some reason, indifferent to future dealings with you. Either way, you do your best to fulfill their request.
If the individual is obscene, hostile, or verbally abusive, you have no obligation to entertain their rant, outburst, or violent behavior. If you are fearful and the threats continue (on or offline) connect with the authorities and follow their advice to manage the situation best.
If the exchange is online, you may wish to block the individual on social media. You have a couple of options but be careful not to add fuel to the fire!
This is not a time to hash it out online nor create a feud in the hope of saving face. You will not win that battle. You could often do more harm than good.
N.B. The Internet Abyss is Journaling Your Every Action Online
You can either ignore the post or attempt to delete it while blocking the individual from your social media platforms. Unfortunately, currently, there is no magic button to stop them from each of your platforms immediately, BUT there is a way to do one at a time. Visit the Learning Hub https://learn.g2.com/how-to-block-someone-on-social-media, where Grace Pinegar walks you through the steps to block individuals from various social media platforms.
Otherwise, you could prepare a very professional, discreet message acknowledging their post, offer an apology, and attempt to clarify/rectify the situation by giving a very BRIEF response. Then request they connect with you directly or with your team to receive additional support, generate a refund or receive a product or service replacement depending upon whichever item they purchased from you. It would be best to manage this effectively because messages can be shared online, taken out of context, and leave prospects with a poor image of you and your business.
I tend to believe there must be a reason for their actions because there is a slim chance they were born with negative or nasty characteristics. I was brought up with the ole notion “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all’.
I once had a woman I did not know, nor corresponded with, connected with me via Facebook following one of my ad campaigns. She stated I appeared as a control freak and needed to f@*k off. Well, how lovely. I deleted that post quickly and blocked her from my platforms. There was no need for me to take it personally as she was wrong and needed to OWN her actions.
Time to Delete and Move Forward!
Over the years, you may have chosen to avoid individuals with a negative mindset or those who are potentially reactive and not a fit for your business. If you are looking to build and grow your business online, you may not be able to say good-bye to someone who is merely pessimistic, and you deem a ‘liability.’ Or can you? Hence the need to ‘qualify’ those you work with. This is a post for another day, BUT it does speak to the value of determining whether those you work with are a good fit for your business or not.
6 Tips – How to Manage Negative Client Interactions & Nasty Cyber Commentary
Tip #1 – Always remain calm, cool & collected. Inside you may wish to have a quick-witted response or feel like letting them ‘have it’ but as noted above, remain professional and devise a plan of action to rectify the situation. Demonstrate your values through your actions and words. Let them know you hear them; you are sorry this has been their experience and you will do your very best to improve upon XYZ.
Tip #2 – Minimize the amount of time and energy in the negative. When people are fired up, they often go on a rant and tend to repeat themselves.
You do want them to feel heard, but you also need to guide the conversation in order to arrive at some resolution.
Again, acknowledge their experience, paraphrase what they shared with you and look to alter their frame of reference to repair the business relationship, problem-solve, and maintain your good name.
Tip #3 – A graceful response goes a long way. Having a tasteful plan of action that you develop prior to connecting with them, allows for a level of professionalism which will offer an appropriate response whether their complaint is legitimate or otherwise.
Keep it clear and concise, short, and sweet but NOT sassy by any means.
Tip #4 – Avoid taking the complaint personally. Whether the individual has boldly stated your product is crap or your hair on your latest live video is comical.
Do your very best to not GO THERE.
Meaning, try your best to not take their comments to heart nor be reactive.
Often, we do not know if they perhaps had a bad day, they are quick to judge OR you are their punching bag due to their own misfortune.
It doesn’t make it right or by no means, am I justifying their actions BUT as business owners, we do need to be able to understand where an individual especially, our client/customer is coming from in an attempt to arrive at a solution to appease them and serve their need.
*If they are ignorant and highly reactive causing you to feel very uncomfortable.
I would encourage you to politely state “Mr. or Ms. ____ I apologize but at this time, I must remove myself from this conversation. I will connect with you either later today or (at a specified date) as I do wish to address your concern(s), but I do not believe this is a healthy interaction.
I thank you for your time and I do take your concerns seriously but think it would be best to address the matter following some downtime, thank you.” End the call with every intention of responding to their concern.
Tip #5 – Do not share the details nor the name of this individual with anyone outside of your team or business (unless you are required to speak to the authorities).
Word can spread very fast and you do not want it to be taken out of context. Confidentiality is paramount and you should respect the privacy of those you work with.
You also do not want to speak ill of a client/customer or prospect which can be deemed as unprofessional.
Even worse, we do live in a small tech-savvy world where with one click, news travels fast! There may be a chance of the individual receiving word you are bad-mouthing them OR individuals who pride themselves in jumping on the social media bandwagon to discredit others only to fire things up at your expense – BIG TIME.
Tip #6 – Self Care. Now, rather than binging on a bucket of ice cream, a package of chocolate chip cookies, or a tall glass of bubbly … I would encourage you to:
- Reflect upon the stressful situation.
- Review what you learned to do and not do.
- Create an action plan including policies and procedures to best manage a future interaction (and unfortunately there will be one or two …)
- Talk about it with a supportive friend or colleague who understands your business and move forward.
In the end, you may have been able to not only address the concerns of the individual and avoid them berating you online BUT more often than not, you have gained the respect of a previously unhappy client or customer who will likely share what happened with others. More importantly, s/he will inform them you did XYZ to rectify the situation, and overall, they will recommend working with you or purchasing X product or service you offer. If the outcome does not turn out positive. Make note of what you did to right the wrong and learn from the said experience.
Call to Action: Take a Proactive Stance
Why wait to be flabbergasted by a complaint or rant? Be prepared …
- It is inevitable that over time, you will receive a distasteful or nasty comment or two with respect to your posts, videos, personal photos, or services (building up your confidence & self-worth is key here)
- If a complaint lands in your inbox or online, take a few minutes to digest the very essence of the comment. Don’t be in a rush to respond. Ask yourself if a response is warranted …
- Question the validity of the comment and determine if you are required to take action. You can ignore a post that judges the shade of lipstick you wear as it really has no impact on your business (unless you are promoting makeup products).
- Create a few scripts to guide you in responding to complaints or requests for a refund etc. I encourage you to not engage with those individuals who have nothing better to do than stock others online and find joy in posting judgmental and hurtful commentary.
- Your Support Team – we may tell ourselves to ignore hurtful posts and move forward but let’s be real, it does affect us all. If you are targeted and are affected by an online rant or nasty comment or interaction, please seek support to work through the situation.
I would love for you to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to craft a story that sells.
If your business is stagnant due to several challenges or from a lack of direction, let’s create an action plan to master your message with personality-driven copy. l
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