No one ever truly wants to talk about this subject, because it’s not the happiest of subjects. It usually focuses on the negative and can be discouraging. However, I believe proper damage control has a huge impact on whether or not a brand and business succeed or not.
Keep in mind that people are naturally critical of brands and experiences. With so many businesses for each sector, it’s the customer’s choice of what they want and how they want it. This DOES NOT mean that every negative comment is an accurate description of the way you do business. Let’s be honest, we all know of those people who continually suck on lemons. Some people just want to be angry.
Now that that’s covered, let’s tackle this issue. There is no need to stop and remake your brand every time there is negative feedback. This would cause chaos and make both customers and employees upset. Instead, see where there are trends.
- Do customers feel overlooked?
- Are there complaints about items never being in stock?
- Are store hours or availability keeping people away?
- Is there a consistent issue with the product?
Two of the best stories of damage control come from Starbucks and Dominos Pizza. On March 28, 2008, Starbucks closed early to have a specific training storewide on how to properly pull a shot of espresso. It was public, and people criticized the action saying Starbucks was closing for good. However, it catapulted the business to produce the best product and make sure that it stood by its Barista Promise.
In early 2010, Dominos promoted the comments from their harshest critics and used it to their advantage. They posted the comments in their headquarters kitchen and got to work to produce the best pizza possible. Their chefs worked late hours into the night and weekends to find the absolute best recipe. When they found it, they went back to specific critics with a delivery of their new pizza.
The best part of this turnaround is that they publicly shared the whole process. As a company, Dominos took responsibility for their product, listened to their customers, improved, and shared their new creation. Since this turnaround Dominos has opened hundreds of new stores.
Now that you’ve seen how the experts tackled negative feedback it’s time to tackle yours.
- Listen to your audience.
- Don’t be afraid to be open about criticism.
- Don’t argue.
- Do be open to new strategies
- If their arguments are valid, investigate them.
- Remember it’s not personal and it’s helping your business become better
- Let your product speak for itself, and if it’s great people will notice
- Change is good, just make sure there is a plan in place with it
At the end of the day if you have a premium product, and excellent customer service, you’ll do just fine.