At the MicrocreditNH Entrepreneurial Exchange Day, yesterday, I gave TWO 90 minute sessions on blogging. An expected question from the crowd in both sessions (prepped and addressed in my presentation) was the point of how to effectively address negative comments. One individual thought this type of negative press could, possibly, even "shut your business down."
Here was my input to both groups;
If the comment made is extremely rude and vicious ... if they hide behind a veil of anonymity (no name or a fake email address) ... and/or if there is nothing even remotely constructive in the comment, then just go ahead and mark it as spam and delete it. If, however, you find a comment is simply posing a difference in opinion (even if they're doing it rudely), or if they're commenting on the quality of your product or service, then, as painful as it might be, the best thing is to post the comment and address the issue head on, openly and professionally. You'll garner more respect from your subscribers and will be seen as more trustworthy than before. Honesty and credibility are big hurdles in the world of business today. Don't fall into the trap of trying to ignore or 'spin' your way out of these situations.
OK ... time for a quiz! Because the world always provides things when/how you need them, I received the following blog comment last night:
From: Taschen (Email provided but my response to it bounced back)
Comment: Who do you think you are fooling. You have no expertise and it shows in everything you do. Your treatment of your clients is appalling and you are known for it now. It must be hard to be always looking over your shoulder. But then again why would a pompous jerk like you care what your clients think.
How would you address this? The thoughts that went through my mind were along the lines of, "GOOD GRACIOUS, this person really hates my guts!" ... "Who in the heck IS this?" ... "What did I (we) do to them" ... "What exactly do they mean by 'treatment of clients'?" ... etc. etc. etc.
After wallowing in despair and misery for about 5.3 seconds, my logic kicked in and I noted a few things (confirmed by the bounced email). The comment is completely generic! This comment could be cut and pasted into every blog on the planet and it would likely affect the blog author in the same way it did me. I actually, suspect that's exactly what's going on here (sadly). More importantly, there's nothing constructive in the comment. Since there's no specific reference to something we've done wrong – and, boy howdy, please know I'm not perfect in this process of bumping my way through the world of business development – I can't really address anything here.
My response to this? ... Other than writing this post for the benefit of new reader's to my blog, I simply marked it as spam and will assume that Taschen was a fleeting visitor. If I'm wrong in this assumption and Taschen wants to comment again with a real email address and be more specific in his or her comments, I will TRULY be happy to address their concerns.