It’s all too easy to feel personally attacked when someone criticizes your business. After all, you put so much of yourself–your time, money, energy and personality–into it. But it’s important to put business criticism into perspective so that it doesn’t get you down.
No matter how amazing your business is and how many people it helps, you will receive criticism…it just comes with the territory. But there are ways to make it less painful so that you don’t start doubting your worth and the worth of your business.
- Step back
Most complaints will likely be from customers who weren’t satisfied in some way with the product or service you provide. They aren’t meaning to direct their anger at you as a person, but rather, at the brand or company. Just because you are the company doesn’t mean that they meant it as a personal attack. Practice stepping back and viewing the criticism through your “boss” lens.
- Put yourself in their shoes
We’ve all complained about poor customer service or poor craftsmanship at some point. Sometimes, we may have even done so more vehemently than we meant to. So remember how it felt when you felt taken advantage of when you received less than what was promised. You just wanted the situation made right. You can do that for your customers. And it’s easier to do when you put yourself in their shoes when considering their complaint–especially when they are angry.
- Don’t react, respond
It’s human nature to go on the defensive when someone is angry and accusing you of shoddy work or under-delivered quality. But using defensive language is only going to make the matter worse. Take some time to cool down and then respond to their complaint. If you respond rather than (over)react, you have a much better chance of settling the issue amicably and keeping the person as a future customer.
- Take time to evaluate
Not all criticism you receive will be created equally. Some of it may be just plain griping for the sake of it. We’ve all read reviews on Amazon, for example, where people were complaining about something that was ridiculous, usually because it was clearly stated in the description. Yes, you will get some of that. On the other hand, some of the criticism you get will have merit. Take some time to reflect on the person’s complaint. Does it have some truth to it? Is there a way you can use this as feedback to make your product or service better?