How to handle negative reviews
Social Media runs the world and has created amazing new opportunities and, of course, problems as well. One of the major benefits of Social Media is the ease that your customers have when they want to share the experience they had with your business and leave a review, negative or positive. Let’s be real, customers expect an amazing experience so when they receive it, it’s something normal and not worth their time to share. Now, obviously, not everyone thinks this way and your business hopefully has loads of great reviews, but from the thousands of reviews our customers receive, we know that negative experiences influence negative reviews more than great experiences equal great reviews.
Now, with that said, before we dive into how to handle negative reviews in a correct manner, let’s dive into why reviews are important. Online reviews have enabled a business owner to survey a majority of their customers and ultimately turn it into a case study. For example, if you have 20 reviews stating how great your ice cream is and then one negative review comes along saying the flavor is terrible then you know that it’s not to everyone’s liking but with 20 to 1 on those who like it vs those who don’t, you know you’re fine. Now, on the other hand, if you only one customer likes it and 20 people complain then you should stop and dive into it deeper to see if there is something within your business that needs to be changed.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to tell that your business has got a lot to gain from positive reviews and a lot to lose from negative reviews. So, what do you when a customer writes a negative review for your business? Not all strategies against negative reviews seem to work, but here are 5 points that will pacify angry customers and resolve problems with those who leave negative reviews.
- Never Argue!
Never ever ever ever argue with a reviewer online! Frankly, you’ll look childish and unprofessional. It doesn’t matter how right or wrong they are. There are those stories of companies that argue and then the publicity storm that follows brings in new customers and revenue but hoping for this is an extremely short-term way of thinking. The saying, “All publicity is Good publicity” is for those who aren’t in it for the long run. Don’t argue with your customers, respect them for even being a customer and trying your business out.
- Talk Privately
If you have got a bad review, get in touch with the customer as soon as possible. Don’t let an employee or even a manager do it. If you are the owner it will benefit you the most to hand every single negative review. Try to understand what went wrong and offer solutions. During the back and forth with them, as you try to understand, do so through email, on the phone, or in person. Don’t publish this conversation for all to see on the review platform. The first reason why is that you don’t know what they might say as you begin to open the problem and you don’t want everyone to see it. The second and the most important reason is that the customer will feel more appreciated and not ignored when you go out of your way to find them and talk to them, not just reply to a message online.
- Publicly Respond
Offer a public response to negative reviews. Your response should reflect your business’s values. In any case, don’t be rude or unapologetic. Thank the customer for his patronage, accept full responsibility for the situation and mention what you’re doing to set his complaint right.
- Funnel Negative Reviews
Try to stop a negative review even before it happens. If possible, talk to the customer after you have serviced them. Through software, like our Reputation Management software inside our Branding Cloud platform, you are able to get feedback from your customers immediately and funnel the negative reviews to management so they can be handled before they see the light of day. Most of the times, people leave a bad review because the product/service did not live up to his expectations.
- Is the Review Legit?
If the negative review is justified but due to something that you can’t control (like the pricing of your products, turnaround time or color of the tablecloth), explain to them why it is that way and promise that you will look into revising your options in future.
Remember, most of the review sites will not allow you to delete or edit customer reviews unless they are against their guidelines. Now, negative reviews are not always a bad thing but a case study to see how your business or product is doing. The most important thing is that how you react to those reviews will reveal a great deal about what your business is all about and will stay with your business for years.