Never Feed the Trolls…
Sometimes, though the line between feeding a troll and setting the record straight is very fine. Case in point – the Yelp review we have. There’s a lot of innuendo, lies and straight out store bashing by one particular reviewer there. Frankly, the bashing I can deal with – that’s not something I care about.
Lies and innuendo (especially with regard to whether we are a ‘legit’ business and/or are tax frauds) – those are much more serious. Those I felt I needed to answer – complete lies and fabrication should be dealt with, especially when such information is on a public forum.
However, when do you stop?
My rule is simple – set the record straight – once. After that, you are just feeding the troll who wants attention. You can’t ever change a person’s mind – at least not on the Internet. In most cases, letting their very words speak for themselves, especially if you have replied in a calm, professional manner will set the record straight and harm their points.
What if you are in the wrong?
Occasionally the mistakes are real. Sometimes, you’re the one who who is in the wrong. In that case, own up, fix the problem (or mention how you are fixing it if it isn’t something that can be fixed easily) and take it off the public forums. Individual mistakes shouldn’t be handled publicly – for one thing, you never know what kind of information you might need to ask for / end up divulging; so it’s better to talk privately rather than continue a conversation in public. Sure, it might not be as satisfying but being professional is better than being publicly right.
And the anger / frustration / etc?
If you are running any kind of business, learning to deal with criticism is important. How you deal with it is really up to you – but learning to deal with stress is important. Personally, I mostly dismiss the trolls – they just aren’t that important. They’re not your customers, they’re just sad little people.
The irate customers, the ones who have caught you out on a mistake – those are harder to forget about. At the end of the day, you just have to take a deep breath, deal / fix the problem and accept that you screwed up and work on ways of doing better the next time.