The business world thrives on feedback. Let’s go ahead and acknowledge that, ok? For certain things that we’re unsure about, we automatically seek out feedback. Feedback could be in the form of touching base with someone you know personally. More often than not, though, the feedback you seek is web-based and in the form of a review. Consumers read reviews in order to make sure money will be well spent. Another reason might be to ensure credibility or ability.
I don’t leave negative feedback, though.
Let me make sure that my statement is clear. I choose not to leave negative feedback. I’m not saying any given person shouldn’t leave truthful feedback. I simply choose to handle any of my grievances in another manner. Why, though?
As a business owner, I choose not to leave negative feedback because I believe I set an example. This reason is 100% selfish. It’s because I’m protective of what I’ve created. My face is all over Autumn Lane Paperie’s website, and I have branded myself with my own name for font design side hustle. My business, and my blog, were started as a means of helping people and I’m doing so (hopefully) by putting myself out there, along with my personal experiences. All of my social accounts are accessible and easy to find. Googling my name yields my business website, my images, and those social accounts. I have a lot invested in this business and this blog, and I am not willing to put my own reputation at stake to leave reactionary negative feedback. That feedback could be perceived in any number of ways, and my professionalism could be at stake. Consider this before you blast someone over an experience you didn’t care for.
As a business owner, I choose not to leave negative feedback if I don’t have a good experience with someone. Business owners have a lot on their plate, and just like any other human being, sometimes, we have bad days. It doesn’t excuse poor behavior or less than stellar experiences, but at the core, the person who may have been snippy with you could have had a really bad day. You don’t know what’s going on under the surface. I choose not to leave negative feedback, because I like to give the benefit of the doubt, first. If the dispute is something minor, I don’t believe it offers anything positive to provide negative feedback. Not only does it put you in a crummy frame of mind, but you’re probably wrecking someone else’s day, too. I don’t feel like it makes my bad experience better by ruining anyone else’s day. That’s why I choose to handle this privately, or at least out of the eye of the public.
I’m not always right.
As a business owner and human that makes mistakes, I choose not to leave negative feedback because I could be the one in the wrong. I’m the first to admit that I have a stubborn streak a mile wide, so for me to admit that I might not be right is a pretty big deal in this house! Hear me out, though, joking aside. Each business, no matter how big or small, has different policies. It’s on each of us to understand the policies ahead of decision-making. It’s also our responsibility to click the policies link if, prior to your purchase, there’s a note that says you automatically agree to the policies by submitting your order.
My bad experience could be because I didn’t do my homework. It’s happened before. It’s hard to justify negative feedback if the problem is with the policy you already agreed to. Why would I leave poor feedback because I either violated policy, or didn’t read the policy? I believe that this is a problem that is growing larger every single day, and it has everything to do with entitlement and the attitude of “the customer is always right.” This mentality is what leads to a sense of entitlement, and leads to the abuse of individuals and small businesses, their time, efforts, and creations. I refuse to contribute anything but positivity to that.
What’s the solution then?
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether or not you’re going to leave truthful, objective feedback about an experience or product. That goes for negative, or positive. If that experience or product didn’t meet your expectations, you obviously have the right to state as much publicly. However, any number of factors come into play when it’s dealing with business. If I don’t have a stellar experience, I try to handle my grievances as professionally as possible and always out of public view. I also do so without making assumptions that I’m correct or always right. That’s not always the easy road to take, especially if you feel that you got taken for a ride.
That brings me to my next point. Sometimes, negative feedback makes you a part of the problem. Do your homework to make an educated decision before you spend money. Ask questions ahead of time, and if policies aren’t immediately available, request them. This minimizes the chance that you will find yourself surprised by any fine print that could lead to misunderstandings about a process or item you’re ordering.
What’s your decision?
Negativity often breeds negativity. It’s up to you to decide if you want to be a part of that, or not. As a business owner, though, I choose not to be a part of it. Look for other options available if you need to, such as contacting the seller, submitting a contact form, or revisiting policies to ensure you didn’t miss something. When you buy from a small business, you’re supporting the business, a family, and someone’s hopes & dreams.
Consider that the people behind the business may be just like you, and treat them how you’d like to be treated. That’s not to suggest that you do nothing about your poor experience. Rather, handle it the way you hope it would be if the shoe were on the other foot.