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When setting up a forum to allow customers to leave support and feedback, you relinquish some control of your business. It can be frightening…but also rewarding.

By allowing customers to leave feedback on your service or your products, you open yourself up to public opinion. You leave your business wide open, which can be reassuring for potential customers and/or clients. It allows them to catch a glimpse of how you operate from a non-biased source that isn’t professionally written by you. It allows customers to communicate and connect. It allows you to engage with those interested in your business. The benefits are endless.

But, it’s inevitable…negative feedback will come. But, it’s not the end of the world. It’s important to think about your own review experiences, upset customers are sometimes more likely to take the time to leave feedback than their satisfied counterparts…anyone who looks for reviews online understands this. Use this fact to reassure yourself before moving forward.

Next…prepare. Know how you’ll react up front and when a negative comment is left, you’ll be able to respond constructively thereby creating a positive experience from the negative.

To Delete Or Not To Delete?

While your first instinct may be to delete the negative comment…slow down. Wait and evaluate. By making the choice to delete a comment, you’re opening yourself up for even more criticism by a customer who may be even more upset that their comment was removed than they were before they left the feedback.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. If the comment is outright inflammatory or without basis…if inappropriate language is used, or if spam is used, you have the right to delete. In these cases, it’s best to leave a “Comment was removed for …” note in its place. It shows you acknowledged the post and moved on. Think twice before hitting the X.

How To Respond?

If deleting isn’t the right step, crafting a response usually is.

Take the time to thank the user for taking the time to comment. Remember that the customer is always right. Apologize for whatever may have happened (even if you’re clearly not to blame). Invite them to contact you privately to reach an agreement on how to proceed…or make an offer on the board. The choice is yours. Just remember to respond in a positive and timely manner…it could be one of the most beneficial steps you take as a community manager and/or business owner.

Encourage the Positives

While it’s hard to prevent negative feedback, do your part to encourage positive responses! Ask users to leave their feedback, at the close of every sale include a link to write a review.

By encouraging the positives you’re helping to balance the scale and while moving your business in the right direction.

Negative feedback happens…business owners understand this as do internet users. However, using it constructively is up to you. Encourage an open community through the use of feedback today!

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