I remembered reading once that Bill Gates said he hates receiving positive feedback from his customers, on anything he does business or personal, because he feels he cannot learn from that.
It’s the negative comments that address the issues we need to fix to be able to improve on what we are doing that helps us grow and takes our business to the next level.
This is something a lot of business owners need to learn and understand: don’t take negative feedback as an insult, but a free opportunity to learn what we are doing wrong and the chance to change things and improve upon them.
What to do with a negative comment
Hi everyone Cal here again, with yet another blog on the concerns of running an online business.
Many of my mentees ask me about negative comments that they receive on a blog or comments that they make on their websites.
It disturbs many of them that someone would leave a negative comment, to begin with, but to insult them personally sends most of them wanting to delete the comment or straight out ignore it.
In most of the situations brought to my attention, my mentee felt the comment was unjust or completely out of line, and in some of the cases this was true but two negatives will not help anyone!!
So we as business owners must think, what will help us grow from this comment: how we respond to the negative comment will, in fact, help us succeed in the long run.
I, on the other hand, take negative comments as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Read what was commented, what is it discussing, and what possibilities do we have for potential engagement back with them in a positive manner.
If the person leaving the comment is saying the subject matter is to brief; explain to them why you chose what you wrote and give them the chance to respond to you again.
As long as you are learning from the engagement I encourage all my mentees to take full advantage from the situation and either learn or correct what the original comment addressed.
Often online communications lose meaning and the comment may not have been intended as negative but just worded incorrectly and you the reader misunderstood what the commenter was implying.
In most cases, people will not come straight out and insult you unless they feel you have attacked them in some way.
I firmly believe in the principle of paying it forward, so the natural thing for me to do was to help.
To offer my experience and help to anyone, anytime I could. Many can learn a lesson here and hopefully, I can help others that may face this same problem negative comments are first and foremost considered as an insult.
Take The Time Needed To Truly Understand What is Written
But if we take an extra minute or two and really review what is being said we can conclude that even though the comment is negative we can turn it around by teaching what it is the commenter discussed in their comment.
In other words if the commenter states that the blog is short and uninformative maybe we could provide a link to another one of our blogs, on our site, that discusses the material in more detail or simply respond with a more informative material (if we don’t have a blog with more detailed material on our website).
Or we could submit a blog that is much more detailed and provide them the link to the newly submitted material.
We must think to ourselves; “How can I possibly help this person?” Reread the comment to find out what they are saying my material lacked or did not cover completely as to what they were looking for.
This way anyone willing to read the comment section will also learn from what I offer to this commenter.
That’s the power of the written word, more than one reader can benefit from reading the material, so by helping one person solve a problem we could in actuality help many solve the same problem but by only having to write one response instead of to every reader with the same problem or dilemma.
The reality is, that posts like that are what helps us find out what needs to be addressed and possibly changed, if they can be, to make it a better experience for all to enjoy more so in the future.
Feedback positive or negative helps you grow: it’s the negative feedback that helps us more so, in my opinion, than the positive feedback does in most cases.
There comes a time in every business that I feel the business (any and all) will approach and it will become lull, experience a stagnate in growth, or leveling out if you will.
Many business owners such as myself and many others that I am aware of will face this plateaued point in our business’ growth cycle at one time or another.
And could possibly have to deal with a similar situation many times in the business’s life.
When and if we do come to this crossroad, it is strongly suggested by many experts that we do a self-analysis or assessment of our business, and for an online business it is best to read what your readers, visitors, or audience has to say about the material (free assessment done by our readers) you have been posting.
This can also be helpful in strategizing what path to take our business: read your comments they will tell you what people want to learn about – the path to help the most individuals usually is the best path to follow!
Remember the numbers (Google Analytics) do not lie and can lead any business owner in the right direction to take our business, if we interpret what the numbers are telling us correctly.
And feedback in the comments sections should tell us what our visitors are enjoying (those blogs that receive the most attention and longer session times), and what is not appealing to them as well (those blogs with no comments and shorter session times).
Not everything works for every business so as we grow with the business it is our responsibility as the owners of the business to figure this out to enable our efforts to be focused on what is working rather than wasting time on what is not.
Different Approaches Work for Different Businesses
If a business owner puts in 1 hour every other day working one of two social media sites that they are promoting their business on.
Now if they get 30 referrals from Snapchat and only 1 from Facebook are they going to keep working the Facebook account or are they going to double up their efforts on the Snapchat account (what’s working and what is not).
If your session time on blog covering – “How to bake a cake from scratch in under an hour” only gets a session time of 1 minute, 30 seconds; while a blog on –“Grandmas famous sugar cookies in 45 minutes tops”, has session times of 1 minute 45 seconds; a third blog on – “How to bake a quick cake from the box in less than 20 minutes”, is getting a session time of 4 minutes; and your last blog – “Baking great brownies in just 15 minutes”, has session times of 4 minutes 15 seconds.
Which is working best, and what will your next blog be about.
I don’t know about you but in moving forward I would find another quick method to baking something else and post a blog about it because that is where your visitors are staying the longest time, reading those blogs and not the ones from baking from scratch and taking up more of their time.
The numbers don’t lie and will tell you what is working and what is not.
The same principle can apply to your comments left about certain blogs if they are all positive then I guess you are doing something correctly and if you receive a bunch of negative comments this gives you the chance to learn and change your path of direction to offer what people are looking for in your niche.
This also reminds me of a story (my Mentor) Jim told me once:
He began with telling me of a business owner that wanted to take his product manufacturing company to the next level but could not figure out what was holding the production line back.
He decided that he was going to approach the problem two different ways first he was going to see if his middle management personnel could accomplish the task for him. Then if that did not help, he personally would take on the task to find out himself what the problem was and how to resolve it.
So he went to his managers and told them, “we need to pick up the pace on the production lines let’s see what we can do about it”. After a month he crunched the numbers and realized there had been no difference in the production results at all.
Naturally, he took the matter into his own hands and he went to each individual production line worker and asked them for suggestions on what changes could be made to make their job not faster but easier for them to do.
He received a giant list of things that could be done, he gave the list some thought and after a couple of days of making changes that he thought would really help the production line.
The simple changes helped the production line to gradually start to increase the production levels. Not all the changes made improvements and some had to be switched back (part of the growth cycle: find out what’s working and what is not) but then after things settled back down and everything was running smoothly.
The production line started to gain speed, and then it gained more momentum until it took his business to the next level and continued to grow even past the owner’s expectations.
In this story, the business owner learned what was being done wrong and corrected it; which allowed the business to grow.
All this was because of an internal self-assessment of the business from the actual people doing the tasks.
So by doing a good long study of the numbers (or our previous results), it should lead us in the right path to follow to take our business to the next level.
I sincerely hope this helps anyone willing to read this, when they approach such a situation in their businesses growth cycle and think the business is stalled out.
Please by all means if you have a tip to add to or a critique of this article please feel free to leave a comment I gladly accept all comments positive or negative they all help me grow as a writer and a business owner!!
Give me the chance to learn and watch me grow!!