The old saying goes something like this “There is nothing certain but death and taxes”. Well maybe that is true, but for an entrepreneur in today’s online world there is another event that needs to be added to that short list. Whether you’re providing a service, mobile app, or introducing the world to the latest greatest widget, you will be reviewed. As a founder and CEO of a highly reviewed company, I have learned a few simple rules that help me cope with the ups and downs.
- Don’t ride the rollercoaster. By far this has been the most difficult rule for me to personally follow, but in my opinion the most important. Taking the review too personally is the easiest mistake to make and can lead to pitfalls especially if the review is negative. Except in very extreme cases, one bad review will not kill your business, nor will one exceptional review drive exponential growth. So take a deep breath…ah, that’s better. Now think through how you are going to respond.
- Be the voice of reason. A psychology professor once told me “You will never change the mind of an irrational person by having a rational discussion, but you may change the mind of the people around them.” Remember this when you are responding to that over the top negative review. Consumers spend far more time reading negative reviews and company responses than positive ones. So make sure that your voice is the reasonable one. Don’t dispute every single point as you will sound argumentative, but be factual. Keep in mind who your target audience is. While you are obviously responding to the reviewer, your response will be read and interpreted far more by potential customers.
- Harness the power of feedback. It’s very important to remember that feedback, both good and bad, is a tool. The most successful entrepreneurs find a way to utilize their tools more effectively than their counterparts. If people rave about something they love, plug that strength into your marketing. Conversely, use a criticism as a focus point for improving your internal processes or product offering. Be open to admit that your service/product had a flaw. But follow that up with the steps you are going to take to correct this for future consumers.
The bottom line is that in today’s marketplace every single customer is an influencer, leaving very little room for error. But rest assured, no one is perfect and no customer assumes your company is perfect. Be mentally prepared to deal with the incoming reviews, good or bad. When reviews are dealt with properly the consumer will get more insight into how your company operates from your responses then from your customer’s comments. So throw your arms high in the air and enjoy the ride!