As anyone with a following can tell you, there will always be critics. This is doubly true in the information age, where expanding your reach through blogging and social media opens you up to a world of new opportunities, and new criticisms along with them.
Outside the net, we hear the echo of our parents in our ears, saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” We try not to openly complain—especially when someone gives us something for free! Often, this rule gets thrown out the window when it comes to our interactions on the web.
The result can have positive or negative effects on your business, depending on how you handle it. On the one hand, you can get a valuable honest assessment about what you’re doing to make your customers happy or unhappy. On the other hand, if you take unwarranted criticism too seriously, it can end up diluting your brand or even your product.
1. Try Not to Be Hurt - Sometimes people criticize because they have a legitimate concern, and sometimes they criticize because they’re having a bad day. If you take things too personally, you will end up causing yourself undue stress, and you won’t enjoy your work as a result. Take everything with a grain of salt, and consider the source.
2. Differentiate Complaints from Venting - Not all criticism is constructive. Think about it from the customer’s perspective. Venting acts like a release—it allows someone to express their frustration when something goes wrong. Complaining often has no resolution—the complainer is trying to use their dissatisfaction to reinforce negativity. Customers venting provides an opportunity for a response, while complaints have no next step. Figuring out which is which will help your business and your stress level.
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