Bad day at the office? How to cope when things go wrong!

When things go wrong!

Stuff goes wrong all the time and it can throw us into a right panic as we consider all the “what now’s?”

Maybe you got a bad review, or one of the kids got sick, or the delivery didn’t show up on time, or you woke up with a cough, or your customer changed their plans without telling you, or something else!

When this happens, it’s easy to become reactive and defensive. However, this just makes an already stressful situation even worse. So, here are our best tips for handling the unexpected with the least amount of stress!

A slow walk outdoors is a game changer when it comes to handling tricky situations!

Keep calm and take a walk

  1. Stop, don’t decide anything – yet! Decisions made in the heat of the moment are often regretted later. Try to resist doing any hasty!
  2. Take a breath and go outside for a slow walk, if you can! Moving and breathing slowly is very calming. We make our best decisions when we are calm and thinking straight.
  3. Talk about it! But, with a supportive third party. Bottling up your thoughts and frustrations is no good for anyone.
  4. Focus only on possible solutions, you can figure out the cause later. It’s easy to get drawn into the “how did this happen?” and that’s important, but for now, try to focus on solutions. There’ll be time for “why” later.
  5. If you are dealing with a difficult customer you might now apologise for how they are feeling or the predicament they are in. Why not ask them what kind of solution they would be happy with? This brings you together on the solution side of the table, rather than the “me vs you” situation you started with. If they feel you are empathetic of their situation and are interested in solving their problem, you’ll resolve things much faster.
  6. Once you know what the end result needs to look like, now consider the steps needed to get there. But try to stay open minded at this stage.
  7. If part of the solution feels impossible, ask yourself, “if it could be done, how would I do it?” This way of thinking keeps you thinking creatively and looking for solutions. It also prevents negativity creeping in when things feel tricky.
  8. Now you have a plan to solve the problem, you can put your plan into action.
  9. Finally, make a cuppa. Now you can start to think about what went wrong, what did you learn, and how could you avoid it in the future!

Turning a bad review into a positive

None of us are perfect and its very likely that one day we’ll click open our reviews and find a 1 star rating has been added! It will feel like such a blow to have your perfect score ruined. Especially if this is your first one. But actually, research shows that many people don’t trust a perfect 5 star rating anyway. We have become wise to things that look too good to be true. Nobody is perfect and we are ok with that.

Seeing how a business responds to feedback is far more revealing than the overall star rating. And, if it’s a Google review, it’s also a golden opportunity to improve your google ranking.

Your first one star review might actually be a blessing!

Google likes businesses that have a large amount of reviews. It also agrees that no one is perfect, so it’s not worried about the odd negative review. Good or bad, it uses keywords from your reviews to help index your page. So take some time to respond calmly. Remember, it’s not just the complaining customer that will see your response, your future clients will see it too. So, let everyone know you are professional and try to appear helpful, but most of all, slip in a few keywords for Google.

Think carefully before you attempt to answer that bad review!

Try something like this…

“I’m sorry our home delivery service wasn’t with you at the time you expected, it seems there might have been a communication breakdown with the creative cakes team. We would love the opportunity to chat with you about it. I will have someone contact you to see how we can best resolve the issue.”

I’ve highlighted a few possible keywords in that one so you can see how that might work! That first response is much better than this very impersonal one…

“Thanks for the feedback, please email the team on team@company.com to discuss.”

I hate these copy/paste responses, especially when they include a generic email address. They clearly don’t care and there is no personal touch here. So, when I see these types of replies to bad reviews I run a mile!

Or, what about customer blaming like in this one…

“We showed up at the time we said, it’s not our fault you wrote it down wrong.”

Slow down!

Basically, don’t get drawn into what went wrong, you’ll never find a solution that way. Don’t respond until you have taken a deep breath. Move slowly – it’s calming and your brain can process ideas more easily when you move slowly. And finally, solutions might seem impossible at first, so keep asking yourself “but what if I could?” It’ll keep you open minded to creative solutions!

Good luck!