Depending on where you are in your online journey, you have probably experienced some (or a lot) of negativity. This is on my mind because we’ve had several haters lately, so I thought I’d write about how we deal with people who are not 100% supportive.
I’m a pleaser – always have been. I got mostly straight As in school, and my teachers would send notes home stating, “I wish I had a whole room full of students like Jocelyn.” I’m not really what you might call a suck up. I just hate the thought of people being unhappy as a result of something I did (or didn’t do).
This can be both a blessing and a curse. The good news is that I am very passionate about customer service and going the extra mile to make people happy with their purchases. I’ve had very few complaints compared to many businesses. The bad news is that when someone does send a nasty email, it crushes my soul.
1. The “Getting Started” Naysayer
When Shane discovered online business in 2012, I will admit that I was not the most supportive person. It all seemed so far-fetched – even to me, a fairly tech savvy person. I finally got on board, and a year later things got serious. We made the gut wrenching decision to quit our full time jobs in August 2013 with very little support. It seemed like we had someone around every corner telling us we were making a huge mistake.
Maybe you’re trying to get started and people are saying you’re wasting your time. We know how hurtful this can be, especially from those who are closest to you. We recommend stating your case, but don’t try to convince them that you’re doing the right thing. Chances are, you may never be able to change that person’s mind. That’s wasted energy you could be using to work on your online business.
We usually say something like, “We appreciate your concern for us. We will definitely keep that in mind.” That is usually enough to get someone off your back. If you’re dealing with your spouse or someone you have to live with every day, it’s going to be a little more of an uphill battle. Shane and I recently recorded a podcast about this – click here to listen.
The Bottom Line: You will have naysayers as you’re getting started in your online business. Have a response prepared and stick to your guns if you have decided to give online business a shot.
2. The Disgruntled Customer
No matter what you do, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it. When I created my most recent digital product, I worked meticulously to get it just right. I worked hundreds of hours to make sure no one would complain about it. Things were going well until last week when I got an angry email. It wasn’t my first one, but this one made my blood boil more than usual.
My first instinct when I get one of these emails is to pounce. Many times, I’d love to send back an equally nasty reply with reasons I’m right and the other person is clearly wrong. That’s one of the worst things you can do.
When (not if) you get an angry email from a customer, wait a while to respond. Try to see things from the customer’s perspective. It’s hard, but if you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment, it will help you figure out the best course of action to take.
I always start by thanking the person for their email. This is a goodwill gesture to let your customer know that you appreciate their business. Next, I state my case based on what they told me in their email. Depending on the issue, I usually bend a little to keep them happy. Offer a partial (or full) refund, send them an extra digital product, or accept a return. I always close with something positive to let them know I’m on their side (even though it’s really hard to do sometimes).
The best case scenario is to let someone else deal with these messages if you can. We’ve been working with a few virtual assistants lately and it’s really helped me avoid ruining my day by reading an angry email. Tell your virtual assistant how to respond to disgruntled customers and don’t even look at those messages unless the customer is asking for something unusual or the message is particularly hateful or threatening.
The Bottom Line: You will have unhappy customers despite your best efforts to please them. Have a plan in place for responding to their messages and never respond in the heat of the moment. Remember that emails are written records and you don’t want someone to post a scathing screenshot with your name on it.
3. The Pot Stirrer
I think this one annoys me the most. Things are going great… Your online business is taking off, money is rolling in, and then one day you log into Facebook and someone has posted something mean about you on your business page. Even worse, people have liked it or added their own supportive comments.
There’s a time and place for constructive criticism, and we all certainly have things we can improve on. However, I find that these people usually just like to start a commotion.
If it’s a legitimate concern, go ahead and address it in the public forum. Most people will appreciate your openness and transparency when you admit you’re not perfect. If it’s someone being mean for the sake of meanness or jealousy, delete the comment. There’s a reason you’re the administrator on your social media pages. If someone is only there to bring you down, remove them from the page. If it’s an email, delete it.
The Bottom Line: Don’t let negative strangers bring you down. You aren’t obligated to respond to people if they’re just being rude for no apparent reason. Delete those comments if you can – it will give you a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.