Hey! You! LEAVE ME BLOG! And go to….
Hold for a sec, my apologies! I'm still in the process of cuddling and petting and adoring the extra hour of hacking time Daylight savings time afforded me, and haven't yet fired up the 'ole coffee-burners in my system.
Let me start again.
Hey there, thanks so much for visiting my site today! But before you continue, I'd like you to leave my site by clicking and reading the below link.
Ready? Here goes!
Now, Tiffany (owner of the site) is one of the very best Internet marketers out there. She's the author of the glorious Building An eBook Empire (and when I say 'glorious', I mean GLORIOUS – it's just about the only how-to book I recommend for that topic)….she's also done other things mind you, like her PLR Minimart (Private Label Rights) and goodies like that as well. You should definitely sign up at her blog for her Autoupdates (top right hand side of her site), grab her feed and enjoy everything you learn.
The crux of the situation is that Dan asked Tiffany to rip apart his product (side note here – Tiff reviewed my product, Income Fitness, over at Are You Still Trying to Be Rumpelstiltskin?). Fair enough!
Some of Tiff's readers started commenting. Again, fair enough!
Then Dan decided to comment on those comments. We've just reached the tippy-top peak of the Mt. Everest Roller Coaster of Fair Enough!
Because that's where Dan's actions gave him a one way ticket of flinging himself off the:
"Hey! I will become a hero to both a pillar of Internet marketing (my niche) AND my future customers!"
train and instead feverishly grabbing a seat on the:
"Wheee! Free Fall Into Major Toasting Of My Product! Wheeee!"
action adventure ride!
The fallout…it's sheer gold. It's the kind of lesson you could never get from paying a guru.
I'm a firm believer in "everything happens for a reason"…and whenever you find yourself on the receiving end of an Internet Lynch Mob Goring, you need to take a step back and say to yourself:
"Jeepers self, what can I take away from this whirlwind of soul-searing angst?"
So Dan, the
following are my ideas I hope you can use.
Wait a sec – let me first set the stage.
Imagine, if you will, the following.
You've just released your first product and ….
No, let me start again.
Imagine, if you will, the following. (cue dreamy music and wavy fadeaways
and 372 cups of freshly brewed morning coffee and …)
You have not lived decades and decades online already, and everything you learned about Internet marketing comes from the Big Dogs "But wait! After these 3 Exit Pop Splashes, I'll just send you to the Clickbank ordering page ANYWAYS!" marketing crew.
Side note here – with what I've learned from real sales and customer service folk recently, the above sentence made me giggle uncontrollably. My gosh, if I had studied the Old Dogs (compared to the Big Dogs) 'way back when….
But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes!
You have bunches of JVs (joint venture partners) and release your product Said JV partners wanted to make the most money possible, so they encouraged you to sell not only the dream, but the movie rights of Inception as well (plus royalties to boot).
You followed the typical "After the person buys, offer a number of upsells" sales process. It's effective (because people buy) and it's maddening (because it pisses some people off).
You ask a highly respected Internet marketer (Hi Tiff!) to boldly rip apart your product. She mentions she's going to do this, her readers comment and complain about your sales techniques.
How do you handle this golden opportunity?
You see this as a disaster in making?
Heck no, it didn't have to be.
So here's what you do.
1.) Always respect the blogger/site owner.
And it's not even because it's their blog and their rules.
It's a simple matter of politeness.
If you were visiting said blogger/site owner at their house, I'm pretty certain you'd be polite and respectful, yes?
2.) Always respect the blogger/site owner's family (ie, readers).
Same thing as above, but intensified – if you visit the blogger/site owner's home and see there's a gathering of his or her friends, you wouldn't try to win them over by insinuating their intelligence was a tad lower than the La Brea tarpits now, would you?
'nuff said again.
3.) Read Rules #1 and #2 94 times again.
Don't worry, I'll wait. Let's see…. I can amuse myself with:
Ah, you're back! Let's continue:
4.) Take a deep breath, and then take 9,283 more.
Resist the urge to give into the Dark Side and let your anger flooooow!
Instead, breathe. Deeply. Drink some coffee. Or diet Mountain Dew!
Step away from the computer.
Find a pillow and beat it into submission.
Watch the following and realize things could always be worse.
In other words, don't lose your cool!
Sit on your hands (ie, don't type blindly without thinking). Next:
5.) Write your first response
And your first response should be something along the lines of:
"Dear site owner,
Wow, I'm still taking in all the comments and seeing just where I failed to communicate well. What a learning experience! I'll comment more once I finish reading, but I did want to let you know I'm on it. Please thank your readers for me!"
What does this do?
It shows the site owner/readers that:
- You're aware of the discussion
- You value the site owner/readers viewpoint
- You're taking your time to understand
IE, you're not jumping to conclusions and you're being respectful of the concerns raised
Rule number N of excellent customer service – even if you might think the customer's concerns are more silly than gazing upon 43 mooses tap-dancing in City Hall, that has ZERO importance on the part of the customer.
Nobody wants to be insulted/made to feel silly/stupid/etc. – when customers have concerns, well, they have *concerns*.
And those concerns simply *need* to be addressed from *their* viewpoint and not yours.
Basic rule of treating the customers – the customer is always right. Unless, of course, your viewpoint is, the customer is sooo wrong (and it does happen) that you simply cannot make things right for said customer. Which, in that case, you part ways with good wishes for each other in the future.
6.) Really read the comments.
Now that you've written your first response, you've bought yourself time to really formulate a fantastically superb comment. And guess what?
I would bet my last cup of coffee (and you know I'm serious if I bet that!) that your maturity and calmness from your first post would already have resulted in, hey, look how well this person is handling the situation.
So…really read the comments. Touch them. Embrace them. Call them "Fluffy." Open a blank text document and write down all of the comments to which you can respond, along with the readers' ID.
This will make it easier for you to write one big huge response that addresses all the issues.
When you're done going thru them all, give yourself another much needed break.
After all, your ego has just thoroughly been trashed and your hurt feelings might be huger than King Kong's family reunion. And you know something?
It's okay to get really emotional about that to yourself!
While your focus still should be on making it all right for your customers, you should definitely honor your own feelings as well.
You got hurt! You got beat up online!
You'd have to be a transformer (or an online veteran of more than a few decades) for it NOT to bother you.
So give yourself permission to grieve and honor those emotions.
Then let them go and prepare for the most magnificent golden opportunity you can imagine.
7.) View the comments from the customer's perception, not yours, and answer accordingly in your text file.
Pretend that each comment was said to you by your best friend.
Or your mentor.
Or your mother or father.
Doesn't it make you *feel* different when you think about it that way?
See, it really *is* all about feelings. Customers want to feel good about buying your products (well, actually, customers just want to feel good about anything they do)…and:
The readers on that site owner/blogger's page generally haven't yet bought…and right now, they're feelin' mighty bad indeed.
So it's up to you to fix that.
Writing from the viewpoint of the customer would take a whole 'nother blog post in itself to address, so let me point you in the direction of some helpful resources.
- 7 Steps for Resolving Customer Complaints
- 8 Steps to Recovering an Unhappy Customer
- Uh-oh! Seven Steps to Deal with an Unhappy Client
- Responding to Bad Publicity Online
- How to Handle a Mad Customer: Three Tips to Deal with an Unhappy Customer
Internalize what you've read…and start crafting your own responses. Then:
8.) Wait for an hour and reread your answers.
How are you coming across?
- Are you coming across as "me me me?"
- Or are you coming across as "you you you?"
Do your answers focus on satisfying the customers, or are you just justifying your own ego?
If the answer is the second, go back to step 6 and repeat until you can honestly say, your response is focusing on making things right for the site owner/blogger and their family (ie, readers).
Once you're happy with #8, move to:
9.) Prepare a blog post on YOUR site that does the following.
You've been thrashed online…but you're dealing with it in a calm, professional way.
That's something to be proud of.
Take advantage of that.
Write up your entire experiences on your site. NOTE! I'm *not* saying, write about it with you as the injured party!
No indeed. What I'm suggesting is that instead….you highlight the original post and say:
Nobody is too old to learn! Apparently I really goofed online yesterday over at (this site). After taking a long hard look at the comments (and also myself), I realized what I could have done differently – read the post to find out.
I'd really like to make amends as well…so if you feel I dropped the ball, I'd like to offer you the following snippet/book/report etc. to make up for it. No optins, no list-joining…just right-click on the following link and enjoy.
And then offer just that.
You can write up "The 3 biggest whatevers to help you achieve whatever", compile together some of your best writings, create a 1 page cheat sheet for your niche….anything that your present and future customers would value.
What does doing the above do for you?
Bunches indeed! It shows that:
- You've left your ego at the door.
- You're calm, cool and professional when dealing with customers.
- You listen…and you respond in your customers' best interest
You tell me now. Wouldn't that:
Go light years in de-escalating the original comments on the original post…AND showcase you in a fantastic light to boot?
Every challenge that attacks you online is always an opportunity for you to shine….brilliantly.
You have to give yourself permission to embrace that, however.
Post that comment, and finally:
10.) Go back to the site in question, and NOW post your big long response comment.
Preface it by writing:
I apologize for the delay in this response, but I wanted to make sure I took the time to really understand from where you were all coming. The following are my responses – please let me know if I missed anything important.
Thanks again for sharing with me your comments, I hope I've helped clear the air. I know I learned bunches about how to do business myself, and for that…I thank you.
No, you don't put a direct link back to your take on your blog – that will show up automatically as a trackback, plus…it should be indexed pretty rapidly in search engines as well.
And there you have it: Your simple guide to:
How To Transform Unhappy Vocal Customers Into Loyal Fans…AFTER being roasted online
To recap, here are the steps to follow:
- 1.) Always respect the blogger/site owner.
- 2.) Always respect the blogger/site owner's family (ie, readers).
- 3.) Read Rules #1 and #2 94 times again.
- 4.) Take a deep breath, and then take 9,283 more.
- 5.) Write your first response
- 6.) Really READ the comments
- 7.) View the comments from the customer's perception, not yours, and answer accordingly in your text file.
- 8.) Wait for an hour and reread your answers.
- 9.) Prepare a blog post on YOUR site that does the following.
- 10.) Go back to the site in question, and post your big long response comment.
The Internet is always fluid and always dynamic and guess what! Nobody really is too old to learn.
Every single word you write will always be available someplace online. So you want to turn that to your advantage…and showcase that even if you make a mistake, you're self-confident enough to step up to the plate, admit it, and then make amends.
Flap my earlobes and call me Dumbo if that doesn't cause a dramatic shift in how readers and future customers view you!
Trust me – you can't buy that kind of positive publicity.
It's a godsend when you get the opportunity to make it happen for yourself.
ps – what can you add for great ways to diffuse online lynch mobs? I'd love to hear your ideas!