A lot of people have a problem with Walmart. You might be one of them, but you can still learn a lot from the company. Many upset customers head online to vent their frustrations, flocking to sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp to do so. The mammoth company spent years simply accepting the criticism of the public. It seemed like the best way to mitigate any possible bad press from all the comments, which might have been worsened by directly addressing them.
However -- Walmart eventually came up with a new strategy. They called this "no free shots". It involved a policy of finding and reviewing any places where they were mentioned on social media. The goal was to engage with the disillusioned and often irate users, instead of sweeping their comments under the rug.
Let me stop you right there, before you go off and start picking fights with anyone who bad-mouths your business. That is certainly not the point of this article. Walmart began to take people's issues on board, discuss the problem, and find a way to make things right.
How did they do this?
1. Keep Calm and Take a Breather
Most people will not turn against your company just because they read a bad comment or two. They will probably write you off if they see you responding to those comments like a jerk. It is far from easy to keep a cool head in the face of a rude, negative, and possibly abusive individual. Your first reaction will be to retaliate in kind. Resist that urge. Take a moment to calm yourself down before you respond.
2. Be Positive
Even if you're responding to overtly negative comments, it is essential to find some positive spin to put on things. Even just being helpful and finding a way to fix an issue can improve everyone's mood. When people head to the Internet to rant and rave, they're no necessarily looking for things to be set right and made perfect. No, they are looking for a genuine interaction from someone who cares about their problem. Even if you can't help them, it pays to be positive and empathetic.
3. Turn It Around
Even the worst comments can become opportunities to make your business look good. By simply handling things in a positive and helpful way, you can show others that you care about your customers. Maybe you could also point out the strong track record you have in providing great goods or services.
Since someone has already with engaged you through their feedback, look at it as a way to frame your own spin on things, without appearing conceited. Don't disregard them or change the subject without actually addressing their concerns, or it will seem like you just want to get rid of them. This can take some care and practice to get right, but it's worthwhile to learn how.