Ah, the Internet. Everyone’s a critic, and everyone has a free (or relatively cheap) outlet to hop up on a soapbox and broadcast their opinions to the world. Unfortunately for you, this opinion could be a less-than-favorable review or write up about your company’s products or services. And sometimes that review is incorrect or comprised of a study that wasn’t set up properly. In this instance, you’re faced with an unfairly negative portrayal of your company at the hands of someone who is wrong. What are your options?
I’ve seen this happen a number of times throughout my career–someone will run a test of a company’s software and find several flaws, but the writer didn’t set up the test properly or misinterpreted his findings, and now your reputation is at stake. Don’t worry, there are a number of points to consider to hopefully resolve the situation.
1. Don’t Go On a Rage Bender
You’re probably mad that someone not only insulted your baby (your product or your service), but did so in an ignorant or incorrect manner. What you don’t want to do is release your inner Hulk and smash your way across the Internet to prove that person is wrong. However you approach the situation, you need to stay calm and professional. Your attitude will help make your case to confused or ignorant blog readers and paint your company in a mature and capable light.
2. Consider Reaching Out to the Writer Privately
Before pulling the trigger publicly, think about contact the writer or blogger via email to see if you can resolve the matter amicably in a private setting. People generally don’t like to look like fools, so if you resort to calling a writer out in public about how wrong he is without consulting him first, he may get defensive and make the situation worse. If, however, you email him or give him a call and ask about how he conducted his tests or what the circumstances were behind the review, you can get some insight into his process and also correct any inaccuracies privately, giving him the opportunity to correct his test or review.
3. Leave a Comment on the Post or Article (if Possible)
This option is tricky, as you have to be incredibly careful with wording (and even still, your comment’s publication is at the mercy of the editor, meaning it could very well never see the light of day). However, if you can leave a comment that pertains to the review, it’ll show the readers that you’re active in your community and that you value openness and accuracy, which could get them thinking about the integrity of your product.
A good approach would be to introduce yourself and your role within the company, and that you encourage tests, reviews, etc. of your product and love seeing feedback. Then go into detail about the incorrect portions fo the test or review and use facts or reasonable explanations to make your case. Close the comment talking about how you loved the idea of the test or review and that you encourage other readers or bloggers/writers who want to write about your company or your products to reach out to you for the correct, necessary information.
4. Post a Rebuttal on Your Blog
If you can’t make any progress by contacting the author or by posting a comment, take the fight to your turf and write a blog post about the inaccuracies of the test. Again, follow Rule #1 and keep it professional and mature–no name calling or condescension. Write about how the test or review was good in theory but that the end result had considerable flaws or inaccuracies, and address each one. Support your rebuttal with facts, official statements, anything legit that can boost your message. Keep it professional, keep it friendly, and keep it factual.
Hopefully by following the above tips, you can counteract any wrongfully negative tests or reviews that you may encounter. As for legitimately negative reviews or feedback…well, that’s a whole ‘nother topic altogether that requires a different approach (which we’ll discuss in future posts).