How to Turn Negative Feedback Into a Win for Your Business

Published on July 2, 2015 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Battling negative feedback is just the beginning — learn how you can grow your business with Leafly’s cannabis advertising options!

It’s hard to receive critical feedback online, be that by email, social media, or on other public forums like Leafly. When people leave negative comments about your business, it’s natural to expect other people will see the adverse review and believe it’s true.

While it’s easy to assume this will hurt your business, be very careful about how you handle negative feedback. Deleting negative comments could have a worse effect than responding directly to critical feedback as some people might see it and think you have something to hide. Negative feedback isn’t necessarily bad publicity, and can actually be good for business.

Customers prefer companies that care about them, recognize their needs, and make every effort to make them feel appreciated. By following the tips below, you’ll be able to utilize negative feedback to bolster your business’s reputation by directly engaging with your consumers, making sure their voice is heard.

Never Delete Critical Feedback

Erase "delete" from your business vocabulary

Unless someone is taking an illegal action on your page, like repeatedly harassing other users or attempting to solicit illegal transactions (let’s face it, in this industry, most of us will experience this), deleting negative comments can get you in trouble.

When customers turn to social media, Leafly, and other public forums to make a complaint about your business, they’re already upset. If you delete their comments, they will almost certainly become angrier that you removed their feedback. What’s more, other customers who saw the comment and notice it was deleted may think you have something to hide or that you’re censoring anyone who disagrees with you.

Instead of deleting comments, take this as an opportunity to engage with your customers and show them how much you value their input regardless of how negative it may be.

Don’t Fight Fire with Fire

Don't fight fire with fire

For many of us, it’s hard to separate work from personal. Your business is your baby. You devote so much of your time and energy to making it great, and it’s personally painful to hear someone speak out against it. No matter how badly you want to, you must resist the urge to feed the trolls. I repeat: DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.

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Responding angrily to upset customers will only anger them further, and you’ll come off poorly to the rest of your customers who see the posts (because hey, this is the Internet; nothing you do here is private). If you feel the urge to spew a hate-filled rant at your customer, take a moment, step back, and wait until you’re in a better place to write.

Don’t forget, when it comes down to it…

The Customer Is Always Right (in Voicing an Opinion)

The customer is always right

We’ve all heard this time-old statement. While your customers may not always be technically right, their opinions are always valid. You want people to have a positive experience with your business, to be a return customer, and to tell their friends and family about you.

If a customer speaks about a negative experience online, demonstrate how much you value his or her business by responding with empathy. Don’t be harsh or biting in your response. Be compassionate, understanding, and genuinely invested in improving the customer’s experience. While you may not always find their claim valid, it’s still important to either retain their business or, at the very least, show other customers that you were willing to hear the person out and offer potential solutions. The more reasonable you seem in comparison to an unreasonable or irate customer, the more others will respect your business for staying level-headed and professional in the face of difficulty.

Be Conscientious in Your Reply

Open your mind

Choose the right words to reply to negative feedback. Directly address the customer’s complaint, apologize for causing them any trouble, and offer a solution to fix or otherwise compensate for the issue. By accepting the grievance compassionately and offering to make it right publicly, you’ll not only show the disgruntled customer how much their business means to you, you’ll also show the public that your business values customer satisfaction and ensures its customers have a positive experience.

Remember, it’s never easy to receive harsh feedback. You pour your heart and soul into your work, and it’s tough to hear people speak out against it. But remember that it doesn’t help to respond negatively or to delete negative reviews. If you need to, take a moment, step back, compose yourself, then write the compassionate response that validates your customer’s needs. If you do this, you’ll usually find you’ve not only won the customer back, but even more brand advocates in the process.

Interested in even more wins for your cannabis business? Contact Leafly to learn about our business services!

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Leafly Staff
Leafly Staff
Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.
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