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3-Minute WOM Lesson: 3 ways to stop negative word of mouth before it starts

This is a post from our WordofMouth.org project. Check it out for more great word of mouth marketing tips like this every day.

While it’s impossible to completely defend yourself from negative word of mouth, there are some strategies to stop it before it gets too big. Three ways to do it:

1> Ask for feedback
2> Get fans involved early
3> Be prepared to apologize

1> Ask for feedback

One of the easiest ways to avoid negative word of mouth is to open yourself up to feedback. It could be as simple as a comment box near the register or an online forum for customers to share ideas and suggestions. Either way, without a place to share feedback, the only option a customer has is to vent directly to friends or in reviews on Yelp and Amazon.

2> Get fans involved early

Build a base of fans willing to defend your creations by getting them involved early. Let them test it, point out problems, and offer suggestions. You’ll get a bunch of great ideas and you’ll help fans develop a little ownership in what you’re building.

3> Be prepared to apologize

At some point — no matter who you are or what industry you’re in — something will go wrong, something will break, or something will get mixed up. Nobody is perfect. Avoid overblown negative word of mouth by giving your team an action plan on how to make up for any missteps that may happen along the way.

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