How NOT to Deal with Negative Reviews
No matter how hard you try to produce the best product on the market or provide the greatest service in your industry, one thing remains consistent: There will always be haters. We at VIPorbit Software have received all types of App Store reviews, from raves to rants. While product reviews can be brutal, your response doesn’t have to be. Consider these three “don’ts” for dealing with bad reviews.
Don’t Take It Personally
One of the most difficult aspects of conducting business in today’s digital world is the dreaded bad review. Some are so scathing and derisive that it becomes difficult not to take them personally. By focusing on the nuggets of truth, rather than the “mean girl” wording, even the worst review can be turned from cutting criticism to helpful feedback. See every negative review for what it is—one person’s experience. Glean from it what you can, change what you can, and then move on.
Converting from foes to fans is only one aspect of our negative review response plan. Even a legitimate shortcoming is worth investigating further. Why? It’s important because we are always working to improve the Vipor CRM apps.
Don’t Get Defensive
In the world of iTunes and Mac App Store reviews, unfortunately reviewers’ identities are often masked behind anonymous usernames. This protects them from retaliatory behavior, but it also prevents an honest exchange of information. From our experience, often a user’s biggest complaint could be entirely avoided by enhanced product knowledge. All too frequently, though, instead of a quick search on our Support site, or submitting a ticket requesting personal assistance, a user gives up and blasts a negative review on the App Store.
VIPorbit CEO Mike Muhney attempts to contact reviewers personally. Even though he reaches out to those who have left both positive and negative experiences, he admittedly gives a little more weight to those who leave negative reviews. “It’s difficult not to be defensive about something you pour your heart and soul into creating, but the first thing I do is thank them for their time and try to get more details about their user experience,” said Muhney. With an emphasis of walking away from the conversation with steps we can take to improve our apps, it almost always results in a rating increase on the initial review. It’s not just a personal call that changes their mind, but usually their complaint was less about the product itself and more about not knowing how it worked or could work that suited their needs.
Don’t Forget Your Mission
At VIPorbit Software we have a mission statement: People Matter. We also have a relationship statement: We believe in the infinite potential of closer relationships. In the age of digital business when usernames and anonymous comments are the norm, we at VIPorbit are still in the relationship management business. More importantly, we are in the business of reputation management.
The Vipor CRM app is more than an address book and calendar “on steroids,” as described by one journalist. Vipor provides a way for users to manage the perception others have of them. By recording contact details, scheduling follow-ups, and noting outcomes, Vipor users present themselves to others with exemplary professionalism. It would be a shame on our part not to model the same behavior when it comes to interacting with our users.
From our onboarding emails, to our Support site, to our webinars and one-on-one interactions with customers, we try in every way to help users have the best experience with Vipor CRM possible. When a user encounters app issues but doesn’t give us the opportunity to troubleshoot or provide support a bad review seems inevitable. What’s the most important piece of advice we can offer when faced with a negative review: Understand that you can’t win them all, but never stop trying to do just that.
By Mike Muhney and Kari Gates
Influence Insider: From IBM Salesman to Industry Creator
Learn why Mike hates the term “relationship management” even though he created the category. Also, find out the four elements necessary to build lasting connections.
ConversionAid: Interview with Mike Muhney
In 1986, Mike Muhney co-founded a software business that eventually failed. In this podcast, VIPorbit Software CEO shares how this failure led to an even bigger success.
It Takes More Than a Tool
Tools alone don’t get a job done. If that were true, a simple trip to the local hardware store would mean countless DIY projects could be considered complete. No, even the best tool in the world is only part of the equation. So what else is needed to go from supplies to success? Consider adding these three to your toolbox:
Tools + Knowledge
Standing in an operating room, with a table full of surgical instruments does not a doctor make. The same can be said of virtually any profession. Tools of the trade require knowledge to get results. Education can take place in and outside a traditional classroom. Obviously some academic pursuits require more education, in more formal environments than others, say a medical degree, while others can be self-taught. Knowing what surgical implements are intended for what procedures isn’t enough for most patients to agree to undergo a given procedure. Faith in the doctor is often extended because the practitioner wielding said tools has obtained knowledge certified by a Medical Board Examination. It takes tools and knowledge.
Tools + Attitude
The best tool in the world can’t compensate for having the wrong mindset when it comes to its application. Consider the attitude of a carpenter. The same tools can be used to build something of high quality or something that will fall apart with uneven edges. It all depends on the attitude and commitment to a job well done on the part of the craftsman. Every DIY-er faces the choice to follow instructions or wing it on their own instincts—and most who examine the results will be able to tell the difference in the results. An attitude that strives for excellence makes the most of every tool, simple or complex.
Tools + Discipline
When you find the right tool for the job, add the necessary knowledge and the right attitude, success still depends on discipline. Why? Most long-lasting success isn’t achieved overnight. It’s the result of many small disciplines applied consistently over time. Coaches know that skills, knowledge and attitude are only part of what it takes to make a great athlete, much less a great team. The “fundamentals” in any sport take practice, practice, practice. The same can be said of professional success. Discipline and consistency win in the long run, well, most of the time.
Though I started as a salesman with IBM back in the mainframe era, I’ve spent the majority of my career in software development. Even though I’ve worked to bring the best tools for relationship management to the market, I don’t believe a tool alone is the answer for any problem. Tools, great tools even, require something on the part of the user. The best results are achieved when a powerful tool is combined with knowledge, attitude, and discipline on the part of the practitioner. Take my latest creation, Vipor CRM, for instance. Downloading the app and even importing contacts and calendars won’t do much to enhance a user’s relationships. However, if a user knows the importance of establishing emotional connections with potential clients or business partners, aims for excellence in their interactions and has the discipline to follow through on their commitments, Vipor can be the most valuable tool in their business.
A tool is like a New Year’s Resolution. Making a resolution doesn’t mean you will be successful. It’s only a starting place. Don’t fall into the trap that the right tool is the answer. When you find a great tool, make the most of it by applying the knowledge, attitude and discipline that bring you closer to achieving your goals.