Negative feedback is something all professionals deal with, from large companies to sole traders. Not everyone is going to love you, your products and services, regardless of how talented and well-respected your brand may be.
While it can often be tempting to react badly to criticism, negative feedback often presents an opportunity for valuable insights and to improve your business as a whole – but you have to know how to deal with it. To help you out, here are a few tips for handling negative feedback with poise and professionalism:
- Don’t take it personally
This is, of course, easier said than done. The main thing to remember with negative feedback is that it’s just an opinion, and it may not necessarily be the truth. In the business world most feedback is based on your work, products or services so it’s best not to think of negative comments as a reflection of you as a person. Instead, treat it as an opportunity to learn, and not as an attack on who you are as a person.
- Never respond in anger
Whenever you get a negative review, or angry email, letter or phone call, it’s important that you never respond in anger. If you’re dealing with negativity over the phone simply listen to the comments, let the caller know you understand their concerns and tell them when you will get back to them. The last thing you want to do is to respond to a caller or reply a message or email when you’re angry. Anger can affect your thinking and judgment causing you to respond in an unprofessional manner.
- Don’t retaliate
If a customer, client or competitor makes comments that you don’t like or agree with, do not fight them. Retaliating and arguing with them will only make the situation worse. Listen to what they have to say and think about whether it is valid or not. If valid address it on a professional level. Do not trade insults or sling mud, if they wish to take that route let them it’s up to you to be the professional one.
- Distil and understand the issues
When faced with negative feedback it’s important to properly understand where it’s coming from and what it’s regarding. Take some time to process what your clients or customers are displeased with. Once you identify and understand the problem you’ll be better equipped to find a solution.