It was December 20 and the VP of Marketing of an e-commerce business was staring blankly at a recent post on Yelp. The post condemned the e-commerce company, claiming their customer service was “abysmal” and their products “far below par”. After several nearly sleepless nights and a tired phone call to the PR person to see what they could do about it, they resolved to carry on without doing anything about it. But the post still haunted her.
Was their decision correct? How hard should they have tried to have the post removed, or please the displeased customer?
Negative press is never easy to take. For any business owner, it can feel like a personal jab rather than a dispassionate discussion of your business. One CEO was so distraught over some negative press about her company that she spent six nights manning the phones in customer service personally. That’s heroic.
Let’s look at the other side of this coin, shall we? To do business, we must garner attention. Yes, that’s right, we have to get others to see us, to look at us, to talk to us, to exchange money and services or goods with us. Communication is the bottom line. And that takes getting the public’s attention. Without attention, our businesses wither and die.
So, if we get negative attention, is that so bad? It certainly FEELS bad. It dampens our spirits. It kills our restful nights. That is actually what it is supposed to do. Remember Robert Kennedy’s quote: "One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time." That’s right. One-fifth. Twenty percent. One out of five. Ok, you get it. It’s a large percentage. If you have five people in your office, at least one of them will never like what you are doing at any given time. It’s time to face the facts and grow up a bit. Not everyone will like us all the time!
Now let’s truly reverse this look and decide that criticism is a GOOD thing. Yes. A GOOD THING. Why? Because it means you are getting enough attention that someone is spending their valuable time to criticize you. It means you are impinging on your market. Truthfully, most of our businesses are never known at all, right? We spend our days WISHING for our articles to go viral, for our products to create massive demand. If you truly want that, start facing up to the hard truth that you will have to be ready to receive some criticism. As Grant Cardone (The Turnaround King) says, “When you start taking the right amount of action and therefore creating success, criticism is often not far behind. Receiving criticism is a surefire sign that you are well on your way.” Ask any major celebrity when he started receiving criticism in full force. It is quite likely right around the time he hit it big.
Back to our VP of Marketing. What if, instead of worrying about the criticism, she marketed so hard that she got 10 positive comments for every one negative one? What if she got so many customers that the one naysayer was drowned in a sea of excitement? What if you did the same?
To overcome criticism, don’t get stuck on it. Just expand above and beyond it. Go big. Speak more. Speak louder. Sell more! And when you get a public criticism, forward it to me so I can congratulate you for getting enough attention. Here's to criticism!