No one likes to receive negative feedback, especially when it is aired publicly which is the real world of internet and social media. Industries such as hospitality and accommodation have particular websites to leave feedback which commonly involve customers taking photos and posting them via sites such as Trip Advisor and Urban Spoon. But no industry is safe from receiving feedback due to applications such as Google reviews and Facebook.

As a consumer I will often review the feedback left about a restaurant or accommodation when visiting a place I have not been before. One of the first things I look for are the last couple of reviews as well as the negative reviews. It is always interesting to see how the negative reviews and comments have been handled by the management.

A recent example I saw on Facebook was a local restaurant who changed their menu to remove a certain variety of food with a desire to focus on a different style of food. There was a massive number of responses, the vast majority of which were negative towards the change in menu. After a period of time the management asked that people stop being so negative which started another run of comments from customers. They would argue they tried to explain their reason, but how should they have handled the feedback? In one way customers cared, the fact they commented.

In cases of negative comments many businesses just simply ignore them, but this is possibly the worst thing you can do. The way you respond can often turn what was a bad situation into a neutral if not positive situation.

A recent article in MyBusiness newsletter addressed a number of methods to tackle negative feedback:

Respond immediately.

This should include apologising for the situation, a promise to rectify or investigate the issue and also that you appreciate the feedback. If possible contact the reviewer personally to discuss the matter or invite them to contact you personally to provide further details as to their grievance.

Find out why

If possible contact the reviewer personally to discuss the matter or invite them to contact you personally to provide further details as to their grievance.

Be professional

Although it is hard to accept criticism, it is important to handle it in a professional and mature manner. Don’t just blame others, make excuses or blame the person making the grievance.

Fix the problem

If there is something you can do to rectify the situation, fix the problem or even offer a refund or replacement to the customer. This may want to be done via a personal message or phone call, possibly not via social media for all to see as you may then get unscrupulous people complaining simply to pay nothing.

The best thing you can do is to simply apologise for the experience that the customer had. Don’t go overboard, just be sincere and honest.

Do not delete or block

The worst thing you can do is just to try sweep the issue under the carpet by deleting the contributor. Give them the chance to provide feedback in regards to your response, it may be positive.

Appoint a champion

All firms need to allocate people who can deal with feedback on behalf of the organisation. The person needs to address all the above and be able to be neutral in their responses.