The 4 Phases of Handling Negative Feedback

negative-feedback
By Caleb Hoopingarner

Words are powerful. Think back to a time when someone spoke something over your life, either negative or positive. What was the outcome? Did those words stick with you as you grew up? Did you start to believe those things said about you, whether uplifting or discouraging? It’s amazing the impact and weight our words carry. Over the past few years of running a highly engaged Facebook page and Blog, we’ve faced our fair share of encouraging and critical words. We’ve all been there before- you put out what you think is an amazing story, post, or email piece, and you get a comment that completely throws you for a loop. Isn’t it crazy how one negative comment can overshadow all of the other inspiring and uplifting comments in a thread? It’s like we disregard the good and only think about that one bad review. While your natural instinct could be to quickly delete the comment and move on with your life, we actually think this is the worst possible reaction. Here’s why: the commenter wants their voice heard. In order to get the most out of this situation, you’ll do yourself and others good by addressing their comment, seeking to understand their perspective, consider what they have to say, and explaining your decision and reasoning to them. If you want to learn to seek the valuable lessons in negative feedback, read on for four phases of handling negative feedback to leave your customer with a positive experience.

1.    Address the comment

So someone left a terrible comment on your Facebook page, a recent blog post, or on some other platform. What you do next shows how in touch you are with your audience. The worst thing you can do is ignore the comment or delete it right away. This shows that you’re either scared to face a little bit of criticism, or you’re only ok with your customers when they say nice things about you. Reality check- being in business is tough, and receiving negative feedback is just part of it. Your goal is to learn from the situation and do what you can to turn the relationship around. Make them feel GOOD about your company despite what they originally thought when they made the comment or review. Maybe they had a bad experience and this is their way of letting you know. Even if you don’t agree with how they are handling it or the words they’re saying, your business can be better because of their comments.  We all want to be heard, which is probably the reason they made the comment in the first place. Hear them out! Remember, your reaction says a lot about you and your company so you want to respond wisely.

2.    Understand their perspective

If someone leaves a negative comment about your company, it’s understandable if you want to get a little defensive. After all, this is your company and you know how good you really are. But hold off on that. Instead, take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Now put yourself in their shoes so you can see from their point of view and try your best to understand where they’re coming from. Is their complaint valid? Would you feel the same way if a certain situation happened to you? Is this something others are experiencing too? If so, you may need to step back and take a look at where this issue is coming from. Even if you still truly believe the comment is false, do your best to view it from the other side, and then respond from that place.

3.    Consider what they have to say

Let’s make this clear right off the bat: you do not have to agree with the negative comment or review. BUT, your customers have a unique perspective that you do not. They feel pain points a lot quicker than you do, and in ways unfamiliar to people on the inside. They might hate the way your website functions when you think it’s incredibly well-designed and user-friendly. This is why listening to what your customers say will make or break your company. After all, you are doing this for them, not the opposite. If they’re talking, you better listen! Could you make some changes for a better customer experience? What are the pros and cons of making a change? Have others made similar comments in the past? Sometimes we are blind to issues and the way we do things in our own company. This is why analyzing negative feedback and making the appropriate changes (when they make sense) can actually help your business more than getting positive comments.

4.    Explain your decision

After taking the comment into serious consideration, it’s time to make your decision and have strong reasoning to back it up. This lets the customer know that you’ve thought over what they had to say and you’ve considered their suggestions. This does not mean you have to make changes simply because of their comment though. Point out the valid points they mentioned in the review and thank them for bringing it to your attention. State your plan of action and tell them why you chose to go a certain route.

Trust us, you are not the only one who receives negative feedback. Here’s an example of one we received and how we handled it.

We have an email list for artists whom we typically send out art workshop information and sale flyers to. Since we received a great response on our Keeton’s Facebook page with our encouraging and inspiring posts, we decided to add to the emails an encouraging story written by a different Keeton’s employee each week. We were blown away by the positive responses we started receiving about these emails. We were truly helping our customers on a deeper, more personal level. However, we did receive an email from a regular customer complaining about how our emails should be strictly art related. Instead of ignoring the customer’s response, we considered what she had to say. Were we sending out too many emails? Were these emails not providing value? How many positive comments have we received? We even looked at the open rate of these emails versus the other emails we were sending out. Our conclusion was to keep the encouraging emails as they were helping far more people than that one customer. We explained to her our reasoning and suggested she just delete the Monday morning emails when they come in.

It’s ok to disagree with negative reviews you receive. The important thing is to hear your customer out and take any and all comments into consideration. You want to keep a positive relationship with them and turn their negative experience into a positive one. Even if you don’t agree with what they have to say, try to come up with a solution that helps them with their problem. Also, don’t take negative reviews to heart. We know how devastating they can be but people just like to voice their opinion. Remember that. Although a punch to the gut can hurt, consider all the positive feedback you get as well. You can’t make everyone happy but you can address their concerns and be understanding to their problems.  Next time you receive a negative comment, stop yourself from deleting it and instead try out these four phases of handling negative feedback to build positive relationships with your not so happy customers. And for more information on your online reputation and why it matters, visit our friends over at Reputation Management. They do a great job at explaining why your reputation is an important thing to consider and some shocking stats you need to know!

What Not To Do When Adding New Friends To Your Life

friends
By Nicole Tinkham

When it comes to creating a friend group, you have more control than you may realize. We’re surrounded by so many people in our lives; some that have a good influence on us and others who have a bad influence on us. These people come and go and it’s easy to hang out with the same people without putting much thought into it. But what if we told you that these people in your life, and more accurately the 5 people you spend the most time with, will determine your success? Would you reconsider who you allow in your circle?

When the people you choose to surround yourself with are positive, uplifting, and are people you admire and aspire to be like, a real change begins to happen in your life. You’ll start achieving more goals, dreaming bigger, becoming happier, and discovering your passions. But in order to find the best people possible for your friendships, you’ll have to do some soul searching. What we know about friendships already (that they just happen) needs to be reconsidered. Now is the time to make better choices, so we put together a list of what NOT to do when adding new friends to your life.

1.    Don’t add someone just to add them

We often strive to surround ourselves with more and more people. We sometimes think that the more friends we have, the better off we are. But the opposite is actually true. It’s more beneficial to have just a few friends who inspire you and lift you up than a bunch who don’t have any kind of positive influence in your life.

Your top five people that you spend the most time with are the most important. The habits of these 5 people are the habits you’ll most likely pick up by spending time with them. Don’t fill these spots up with just anyone. Choose your friends wisely. Be patient because it may take awhile to find the perfect friends.

2.    Don’t choose people who you don’t admire

There are times when it seems like all the wrong people flock to you. You may not have a lot in common with them or no real connection. Don’t just settle! Pick and choose your friends based on how much you admire them. What type of person do you want to be more like? Who do you look up to? Who’s doing the thing you would one day love to do? Remember that the more you hang out with these friends, the more you’ll pick up on their positive habits, and those habits could change your life.

3.    Don’t always be the giver

The perfect relationship will be a balanced one where you’re not always the one giving. Constantly giving will drain your energy! Make sure that both people in the relationship are growing and becoming better people. There shouldn’t be one dragging the other down.

Friendships aren’t just life’s little bonuses. They can actually shape who you are. If you’re spending too much time with toxic people, you’ll have a difficult time rising up to be the person you want to be. Don’t let it happen to you! Cut ties with those toxic relationships if you have to and choose to spend your time with more people who lift you up. You’ll become a happier and more positive dreamer who actually follows through and achieves great things. So when adding new friends to your circle, keep these 3 things NOT to do in mind.

6 Things To Consider When Starting A Craft Group

By Nicole Tinkham

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Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? The best way to get out of that rut is by discovering fresh new ideas. And the best way to discover these new ideas is by learning something new. The answer? CRAFT GROUPS! A craft group is a gathering of creative minds working on projects together. We mentioned crafty parties in a previous blog but now we’re talking about regular meetings. We understand that putting something like this together can be overwhelming with meeting times, location, projects, cost, food, and more. But we’ve also realized how simple it can be if done right. For instance, having a different hostess each month can take a lot of the pressure off of you. Read on for 6 things to consider when starting a craft group.

1. Initial questions – Figure out what type of group this will be and who will attend

What’s the goal of the craft group? – Improve skills? Make new friends? Swap ideas?

Who do you want in the group? – What are they into? How old are they? What other hobbies do they have? What’s their home life like (married, children, etc.)?

When, where, and how often would you like to meet? This can be decided in the first meeting as a group discussion.

What type of projects will you focus on? – Of course you can do a variety of different crafts but it may be helpful starting with something specific like paper crafts or jewelry making.

2. Ways to get started – How to spread the word and invite people

Word of mouth – Start with your group of friends and host your first meeting among like minded people. Then have those friends invite some of their friends next time who might be interested. You can see how this has potential to grow quickly. It depends on the space available but if you have a large area and a few people instructing, you can turn these groups into something huge. But if you want to keep it small, we recommend about 10 people.

Social media group – You can meet a ton of new people in Facebook crafting groups. Form relationships with these people first before inviting them to your craft group and if they aren’t local you could try a virtual craft group.

Meetup.com – This is a social gathering tool where you can find a ton of different groups centered around various hobbies. Create your own to get more local artists in your craft group!

3. The details – What you need to start thinking about

Length of time (we recommend two hour sessions)

How often – Once a month works well for most people.

Each person pays the hostess for supplies – $10 to $20 typically works well but it depends on the project.

Things work out nicely when the hostess provides the supplies so people don’t have to bring their own. However, if they want to bring something special (like a particular craft paper) that’s fine too.

The hostess should also be the instructor but the hostess can switch from person to person each month.

It’s a good idea to email the invites and have recipients RSVP by a certain date so the hostess can get everything ready. Also consider requiring those who RSVP pay the fee even if they don’t show up.

You can also host the group at a place where you can rent space if you have little room in your house.

Have others bring the food. We recommend keeping it simple and nothing too messy!
Set up supplies ahead of time, make sure you have plenty of space, and have extension cords ready if needed.

Complete an example of the project so others can mimic it. Also be sure to float around to help others when they have questions.

Consider dry time and the tools needed. Some projects may not be dry in time to do the whole thing in one session. And certain tools like a saw for wooden projects may not be the best idea in a group like this.

4. Your first meeting

Do something simple that doesn’t take long.

Plan for future meetings and brainstorm project ideas together. You can even vote on projects that people want to do in the future.

Act as if this is a trial run. It doesn’t have to be perfect but from the first meeting you’ll learn and be able to make changes for future meetings.

Start with just a few close friends so you don’t overwhelm yourself.

Do a project you’re confident with and can easily explain.

5. Why form a craft club?

To try things you wouldn’t normally do on your own

To learn new things from other creative people

To meet new friends in your area

To gain a social life and escape the stresses of life

To be inspired and get your creative spark back

6. Craft ideas

Holiday themed projects

Cards

Crochet

Jewelry

Get more ideas on Pinterest and get the whole group involved

Don’t let the planning part of a craft group hold you back from starting your own! Determining what type of group it will be with what type of people, switching hosts every month, planning it out as a group, and having a fun purpose behind it sets you up for success. The key is having fun. It doesn’t matter if there are slip ups or few people attend your first one. Make it fun anyway!

Tell us, do you have a craft group you’re part of? What are your best tips for starting one?

How To Grow A Community Of Like Minded People

By Nicole Tinkham

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I am so blessed to be part of two very special online communities; one being the creative, goofy, fun group on the Keeton’s Facebook page and the other being the positive and uplifting people on my personal Facebook page. So many of our friends are thanking us for this community where people can just be themselves but really, we should be thanking YOU. Without our fans, our page would be nothing! We wouldn’t have a community at all. Our Facebook friends are the ones who lift us up and inspire us each and every day. As mentioned, I feel incredibly lucky to be part of both communities and if you just don’t quite fit into a particular tribe, I want to share with you how to create your own. I’ll explain how you can feel comfortable just being yourself, how you can connect to others and build friendships, how to grow your tribe, and how to share content that people want to see. This is great for any artist starting their own business or for anyone who just wants to meet new people. Read on for how you can grow a community of like minded people as we have.

Being Yourself

This is so important! There are many artists just like you out there so you must show the world how joining your tribe is different than anyone else’s. What about yourself makes you totally unique? What can other people relate to? If you’re an artist starting a new business, keep in mind that there’s more to who you are than just your art business. What else are you passionate about? Cooking? Pets? Family? These are the things that will make you stand out from everyone else. Don’t be scared to let your true self shine because there is someone out there exactly like you and when you draw that particular person to your community, something magical happens. There’s a special connection that takes place and a lifelong friendship is built.

Building Trust

Building trust has a lot to do with consistency. Say you’re building your community on Facebook. You better be posting at least one thing every day. You can’t just disappear for awhile and pop up whenever you feel like it. People won’t follow you. They want consistent information that they can relate to. In order to form these relationships you must show up every day. Also be open to your community. Share your struggles and vulnerabilities. They can relate to that and most likely they’ll want to help you out.

Relate To Your Audience

Always share your story with your community. If someone mentions that they’re struggling with a particular thing and you can relate, share that story with them and how you overcame it. If you don’t have a story of your own that deals with their situation, share a friend’s story and how they went through the same thing. People don’t like feeling that they’re the only one’s going through difficulties. Support them and let them know they’re not alone.

Provide Valuable Content

Remember that your tribe is very similar to your own personality. When you’re talking to this person, think about what interests you. What is something you would “like” on Facebook? What’s a blog topic you would read about? What are some things you excel at and can teach to others? What are some things you want to learn more about? What is your community asking for? Be sure you’re providing great content and advice so they keep coming back for more.

Talk To A Specific Person

Don’t try to reach every single person. When you do this, you aren’t truly connecting with like-minded people. Once you narrow down your audience and speak to a specific person that you can relate to, that’s when the relationship really builds. Also remember that you have the choice on who joins your tribe! If you’re too broad with your reach, you may catch some people that just don’t mesh well with your community.

Encourage Growth

Once you start building your community, encourage them to invite their friends to join you as well. Make it clear who the community is for and if others have friends who fit, this is a great way to grow the community. Eventually their friends will start inviting their friends and from there it will really expand.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re running your own business or just want to be part of something bigger than yourself. Anyone can create and grow a community of like minded people. It all starts with you being yourself. Share your own stories, struggles, successes, and at least one thing that makes you totally unique. Be consistent and show up every day. Remember, growing this community should excite you! If someone lands in your community and they don’t seem to belong, hear them out. Start a conversation and figure out what it was that made them join in the first place. Most likely if it’s not for them they’ll leave and move on to something that does suit their needs. People will come and go but the strong friendships you’ll make in your community are the ones that will last forever.

Tell us, what’s one unique thing about yourself that you could share with your community?

The Power Of A Success Partner And How To Find One

By Nicole Tinkham

The Power Of A Success Partner And How To Find One(1).jpg

I have always thought that I could do everything on my own and never needed anyone’s help. I can be a little picky about the way I do things and figured it was just better for me to work solo. I think a lot of people feel that way. Anyway, I did this with my weight loss journey and with other goals I had in my life and the process was really slow. I was learning along the way but I had no idea what I was doing or how to get to where I wanted to be. I also didn’t have anyone pushing me and holding me accountable along my journey. That was the biggest thing that held me back from reaching my goals much sooner. Even though I was learning along the way, I feel like there was so much wasted time that could have been spent moving forward instead of stuck where I was at. Whether your goal is to start an art business or to live a healthier lifestyle, the number one thing you need to do is take action and a success partner can help you get there. You’re probably wondering what a success partner is, how they can help you, and how you can find one. Read on to find out!

What Is A Success Partner?

A success partner isn’t necessarily someone that you have to pay for their services, like a life coach. It can be! But it doesn’t have to be. Your success partner can be a friend, another professional, a family member, or a spouse. They can be going after a similar goal or have their own unique goals. The important thing is that you have a deep understanding and connection with that person.

Your success partner is a person who understands what you want to accomplish, can help you lay out the steps needed to take in order to reach your goals, and someone who helps you stay on track and pushes you when you feel like giving up. You’ll talk with your success partner about your plans and progress as well as give feedback and advice to one another. I also find it fun to brainstorm with this person and come up with new things to try and creative strategies which help you grow personally and professionally.

You’ll want to meet with your success partner regularly, most likely weekly. When you chat with them, you should be serious and get right down to business without procrastinating. If you need to, allow 5 minutes to vent but then no more complaining! I suggest having an agenda to keep you on task. Talk about what went well in the past week, your goals from the past week, action steps to improve and new goals.

IMPORTANT! Be consistent with your meetings. This should be a professional conversation and you should always take your goals as well as your success partner’s seriously. Meet or talk at the same time each week. It can be a short meeting as long as you’re focused and efficient.

Also remember that your relationship doesn’t have to be strictly professional. You and your success partner can talk casually throughout the week, check in on each other, and just be really good friends. As your relationship grows you’ll form a strong bond and most likely, will start talking more frequently.

How Can A Success Partner Help You?

If you’re anything like I was in the beginning, you don’t think you need a success partner. You think you’re on the right track and already know exactly what you’re doing. Reality check! No matter what your goals are they’re scary. And if they don’t scare you then they’re not big enough. It’s so easy to feel completely alone when life gets difficult. There are so many times when I feel like people just don’t understand me. But my success partner always does. They’re always there for you and you’re never alone as long as you have one.

The most IMPORTANT way a success partner can help you is by you making a promise to that person. Promise your success partner that you’ll reach a specific goal by a set date. Once you do this, you will do everything you can to not let that person down. It really works!

When we set goals, we typically set ones that we know we can easily reach. A success partner will push you a step further and let you know when to set bigger goals. They are totally real with you and will honestly tell you when you need to step it up.

When you’re completely stuck on a certain problem, sometimes you just need someone to listen. But other times you need an answer or advice on how to handle a situation. That’s where your success partner comes in. That’s what they’re there for! To help you overcome the difficult times. And of course, you would do the same for them.

How To Find A Success Partner

Finding your ideal success partner is just like dating. You may not find your soul mate on the first “date”. You have to click with that person, have a strong connection, understand each other, and have a relationship where you aren’t afraid to give some tough love and really push one another. As with dating, you’ll want to chat back and forth to get to know each other a little better. You can even “date” around with a few people until you find the right fit. Remember that it goes both ways. How can you also help THEM? What will they get out of this partnership?

As far as where to find these people to “date” or start talking to, you have many options. Think about the people you already know in your life and keep in mind that this person doesn’t have to be local. You can chat virtually through email, Facebook, a phone call, or Skype. All of those things work well and if you can manage to meet up at some point, that would be awesome too. You can also check out local events to meet new people. Remember that you are just getting to know them at first so there’s no pressure! Another way to find potential success partners is through Facebook group pages. Find a topic you’re passionate about and start connecting on there.

When you’re talking to people, pay attention to where they’re at in their lives. Are they where you one day want to be? Do you look up to them? I caution getting involved with anyone who may bring you down rather than lift you up. The last thing you need is a negative success partner. You won’t go anywhere except perhaps backwards. But it’s totally ok if they’re in the same position as you. You can always move forward together.
You may find a success partnership that you really think will work out and then it just doesn’t. That’s fine! Be honest (but kind) with that person and move on. Just like with a real relationship, you don’t want to waste your time if it’s going nowhere. Don’t become discouraged, your soul mate success partner is out there somewhere and you will find them!

Many of the artists I’ve been talking to on the Keeton’s Facebook page have huge dreams and I love the uplifting and supportive artists in the community. Some are retired and focusing on their art. Some would love to quit their jobs and just create all day long. Some of them already own an art business and are super successful! No matter where you’re at as an artist or anywhere else in your life, you can benefit from having a success partner. They help you achieve things you never thought possible. They keep you focused and on track to reaching your goals. And they’re always there for you when you’re feeling totally defeated. Finding a success partner should be fun so get out there and mingle with some like-minded people! Note: When it feels right, you just know 🙂