The 3 types of negative word of mouth

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No matter how great your company is, you’re going to experience negative word of mouth. Even the most loved companies in the world get some bad reviews, but it’s important to know that not all negative word of mouth is the same — and it shouldn’t be handled the same.

Here are three kinds of negative comments and reviews that you’ll come across and what you can do about them:

1. Angry customers
2. Malicious attacks
3. Off-target customers

1. Angry customers

These reviews are from your real customers who have real complaints. Something went wrong, and you have an opportunity to fix it– and to earn fans. If you can make these angry customers happy again, you can earn back the word of mouth you want. Don’t ignore this legitimate feedback. Instead, act quickly, apologize, find a way to make it right, and do it all publicly. Handling these issues out in the open shows everyone you care and you’re doing something about it.

2. Malicious attacks

These types of reviews are nasty, mean, and usually false. They’re from people who like to fight, people who work for your competitors, or people who just want attention. They’re called trolls, and they feed off of your responses. The more you respond, the more power you give to their attack. Don’t give them a platform for their own agenda. Quietly moderate or delete these comments.

3. Off-target customers

Sometimes negative feedback will come from someone who isn’t your target audience. For example, if an expert yogi thought your beginner’s yoga class was too easy, their bad review isn’t helpful to you or anyone else. It’s not your fault if they made a bad choice or if your stuff isn’t right for them, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore these types of comments. Try to respond in a way that understands their complaint but also gently explains who your stuff is designed for.

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