It’s all too easy to feel personally attacked when someone criticises your business. After all, you put so much of yourself – your time, money, energy and personality – into it. Your business is your baby, and you put your blood, sweat and tears into proving you can be a success.
But it’s important to put business criticism into perspective so that it doesn’t pull you down into a negative spiral and paralyse you. It’s so easy to dwell on any negative comments, and allow yourself to doubt your talents that 95% of customers appreciate.
No matter how amazing your business is and how many people it helps, you will receive criticism… it just comes with the territory. But there are ways to make it less painful so that you don’t start doubting your worth and the worth of your business. Follow these tips to learn how to deal emotionally with business criticism.
Take a step back
Most complaints will likely be from customers who weren’t satisfied in some way with the product or service you provide. They aren’t meaning to direct their anger at you as a person, but rather, at the brand or company. Just because you are the company doesn’t mean that they meant it as a personal attack. Practice taking a step backwards and viewing the criticism as if you were a manager of a large company and one of your staff had messed up.
Put yourself in their shoes
We’ve all complained about poor customer service or shoddy products at some point. Sometimes, we may have even done so more strongly than we meant to. Remember how it felt when you felt taken advantage of when you received less than what was promised. You just wanted the situation made right. You can do that for your customers. And it’s easier to do when you put yourself in their shoes when considering their complaint – especially when they are angry.
Don’t react, respond
It’s human nature to go on the defensive when someone is angry and accusing you of shoddy work or under-delivered quality. But using defensive language is only going to make the matter worse. Take some time to cool down and then respond to their complaint. If you respond rather than (over)react, you have a much better chance of settling the issue amicably and keeping the person as a future customer. It’s better to say you understand and will come back with a remedy than to match their anger with yours in the heat of the moment.
Take time to evaluate
Not all criticism you receive will be created equally. Some of it may be just plain griping for the sake of it. We’ve all read reviews on Amazon, for example, where people were complaining about something that was ridiculous, usually because it was clearly stated in the description. Yes, you will get some of that because not all customers are bothered to make a detailed analysis of whether your product or service is actually what they require.
On the other hand, some of the criticism you get will have merit. Take some time to reflect on the person’s complaint. Does it have some truth to it? Is there a way you can use this as feedback to make your product or service better?
Is their criticism justifiable? If so, take action to turn them into a happy customer, one who will actually become someone who recommends your service. And always look for opportunities to learn from your customers about what they want, and you can supply new customers with an even better service, one that may be able to be charged at a premium.
You may be able to update your website and marketing to provide clearer instructions of what your services are. Seek out opportunities in any negative situation.