dealing with bloggers, responding to negative blogsIt happens to many businesses. Eventually, some disgruntled customer somewhere will publish a negative post on their blog about your product. Of course, it will most likely be the day when Google has decided that the person’s blog is inspired by God and it will shoot straight up to the highest search engine result, even before your official site.

Ever had this happen to you? Were you as confused over what to do as I was? Navigating the murky waters of “getting blogs to stop trashing my brand” is a difficult task, especially since there isn’t much precedent for what to do. Here are some strategies that I tried that worked (and didn’t).

The first time my product and brand were bashed in a blog post I freaked. I mean, this was my baby, my life’s work that someone was callously slandering. So I banged out a rather heated comment on the blog in defense of my business. After a few hours had past and my initial frustration had cooled I went back and was horrified at myself. I had just created a “situation”. By responding too early and in anger I had undercut the good qualities of my brand and made myself look like the scammer the blog painted me as. Do not do as I did! Wait long enough to reply so that you don’t match their negativity with your own. It doesn’t make you look very good.

I recently read on the Consumerist that trying to bully bloggers is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make. Logically, this makes perfect sense. After all, a blogger is not just a disgruntled consumer; he is a disgruntled consumer with a platform, a voice, and usually a following. “If you try to intimidate a blogger, he’s probably just going to post the correspondence and mock it publicly. You’re a guest [on that blog], so show some respect and you’re more likely to get it in return.” At least this was one thing I got right when my brand was slandered. I may have been angry, but I didn’t throw mud back in the blogger’s face.

Once I had made the initial mistake of responding too soon, I took the time to consider the point of view of the disgruntled blogger. If I were in her shoes, what would make me feel better as a customer? After realizing that it was just a simple bad experience that drove her to discredit my product, I contacted the blogger and offered to remedy the situation. My grandfather was a salesman and he always told me that age-old adage, “the customer is always right.” I was surprised and delighted to see a “retraction” posted on the blogger’s site a few weeks later praising my product. Good customer service will win them all over in the end.

Do you agree or disagree?  Perhaps, I missed something?  Either way, I would just love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic… just let me know your alive!