A negative comment from a parent about your setting has the potential to do serious damage to your reputation, especially if their opinion is aired on a public forum or social media site. However, if dealt with correctly - you can use this as an opportunity to demonstrate to other parents and a wider audience that you really care about getting it right for children and their families. Here’s what to do if this happens to you:
1. React Quickly
Speed is of the essence when dealing with negative comments on the internet, as these comments are highly visible to a wide and reactive audience. Your first instinct may be to remove the comment from your page (if this is an option), but doing this may look like you have something to hide. Instead, choosing to respond in a calm and professional manner will be remembered far longer than the negative comment itself.
2. Keep your cool
Whilst you may feel that the parent has reacted out of all proportion; it is important for you to keep your cool and not fire an angry/sarcastic/jokey comment in response. Think about the situation from their point of view – they feel as though they have been let down by your setting. Empathy goes a long way to help resolve the situation.
3. Say sorry
Apologise for the parent’s negative experience. You do not need to admit any liability or fault at this stage, as you will not have had the time to investigate the full circumstances of the situation – but the word “Sorry” in the early stages can go a long way in helping to diffuse a potentially explosive situation.
4. Continue the discussion elsewhere
It may not be appropriate for you to continue the dialogue on a platform such as Facebook or Twitter. Both in terms of making the parent feel their opinion is valued and solving the matter quickly, it is much better to offer to call them to talk through the problem or invite them to your setting to chat face-to-face. This also has the added benefit of taking the conversation out of the spotlight until the issue has been resolved.
5. Use the experience to improve your setting
A negative comment or review from a parent is a chance for you to improve the service that you offer for other parents and their children. The insight gained from that person’s negative experience can also be shared with your staff to minimise the chances of the same incident happening again.
Would you like to improve the online experience parents have by starting again with your website? Speak to our team today!