Nobody wants a negative voice saying things about their business, whether it’s an online troll or an in-person hater yelling at the front line about what they purchased. Even though negativity in any form isn’t appreciated, it is possible to turn it into something positive, especially when it comes to content. All it takes is practice and the ability to see both sides of the situation. Many negative comments or events are actually seen as positives for other customers. Consider this when reading haters’ feedback.
Below are some of the ways to translate what haters say about your business and employees into a blog post that focuses on a more positive angle.
Did a hater unfairly try to take down your business with a flood of negative Yelp reviews or a boycott? Try being upfront and honest in a blog post about the incident. Explain the story in a non-emotional way, then share how it has affected your business and employees. Don’t play a pity card or attempt to get your loyal customers to enact revenge on the haters. Oftentimes, offering an account of an incident is enough to get the results go in your favor.
This can be done in a blog post, but remember that content comes in many forms. Responding to negative Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Amazon, or other site reviews in a helpful and professional manner is putting your response right in front of potential customers. Take that opportunity and run with it.
Remember, there is always something to learn from every negative experience, whether or not you or your business is at fault. By recognizing this and listing out ways you are working to improve, you can show your customers you are always open to feedback and know that owning a franchise is a life-long learning experience.
Explain Things Better
Was a customer upset with a poor experience or product? Think about how your offerings may be unclear. For example, if you run a bakery and decorate birthday and wedding cakes, not telling customers the limits of your abilities may lead to a negative experience. If you have customers complaining about your finished product, you need to look at what could be clarified better.
For instance, let’s say customers consistently complain that what they asked you to write or decorate on their cake is incorrect. You can create a blog post that explains your guidelines (e.g. we only have space for 5 words per cake) while also potentially putting forth new policies (e.g. going forward, we require signed approval of the visual concept of your finished cake before beginning).
Your process may not be explained clearly enough to customers if you keep getting the same complaints. Consider drafting a blog post that outlines your process or elaborates on the guidelines that customers seem to be hazy about. This can be a good reference point of content for potential and new customers going forward, clearing up any misconceptions and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
Focus on What Gets Called Out Most
Another way to use critiques is to embrace it and make it a part of your brand, especially if it’s something tribal or silly.
Let’s say the haters are complaining that your location is too small and out if the way. If moving locations wouldn’t be a feasible (or necessary) move, embrace the criticism. Write a blog post about the history of the building your franchise is in, or give a voice to the employees or owners behind it. This personalizes your franchise and will likely lead to higher brand sentiment.
Besides employees and owners, you could also talk about your regular customers. Maybe a father and son meet for dinner every Friday night. Ask if you can feature them on the blog and take their photo for the post (and to share on social media). Give them a gift card to your business as a thank you.
Additionally, sometimes the things haters complain about are exactly what your loyal customers love. For example, let’s say a quick serve chain’s coffee is notoriously cheap but probably isn’t as good as the exclusive French roast of the coffee shop down the street. Instead of listening to the haters that complain about your coffee, write a blog post about why this coffee works and how making it affordable has helped many friends and family members get together for a coffee date that otherwise they wouldn’t have the budget for. If you have loyal customers taking advantage of something you’re criticized for, write on the angle of what makes it great.
Work With Corporate to Get Support
Finally, part of owning a franchise means that you’re not alone. Depending on the franchise, corporate may have ideas or resources to help you combat the trolls.
Many corporate employees may have experienced the types of criticisms you’re facing before and know what to say that will help explain and elaborate on the situation. Even if they don’t, they may have graphics, guidelines, or other tools you can include in your blog post to help customers understand your franchise better.
Additionally, if corporate isn’t much help, ask other franchise owners for advice. Picking one another’s brains for how to handle haters may lead to more inspired content. It’s always motivating to work with someone in your same position. See your fellow franchise owners as sources of knowledge and on the same side when it comes to battling haters.
By using negative feedback from haters as a way to learn, change, and create new content, you’re giving one of the most dreaded aspects of owning a franchise (or really any company) the power to do good. Taking hardships as opportunities is one of the best ways to show haters that your business is about serving the customer first, no matter what they have to say.
Utilize your point of view as a business owner to craft compelling content that can elaborate on how your business operates and what’s available to customers, while sharing the people behind your franchise that make it great.