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The 3 kinds of negative comments and reviews

When someone writes a bad review about you, they have very different motivations.

1. Malicious people. These are people who are out to get you. They want to pick a fight to promote themselves. They have a political agenda. They work for a competitor. They’re just nasty, mean, and like to fight. They may have a personal/emotional issue unrelated to you or your business. Also known as trolls.

Action: Don’t feed the trolls. Don’t respond. If you encourage them, they’ll escalate it. Don’t give them a voice or a platform. I advocate quietly moderating/deleting these comments, but many don’t agree with that position.

2. Angry customers. These are real customer who feel they have a legitimate complaint.

Action: Make them happy. Listen to them. Apologize. Resolve the problem. Ignore this kind of feedback and you’re screwed.

3. Off-target customers. Example: the college kid who complains that the $30/entree restaurant is overpriced or the advanced student who signs up for an entry level class and complains that it’s entry level.

Action: These are tough. Their complaints are caused by the fact that your product isn’t right for them. They may have made a bad choice, and they want to blame you. Their opinion isn’t necessarily relevant to your target customer. Suggestion: Gently comment in a way that explains who is right for the product.

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