It happens to every business sooner or later – the dreaded negative review! You might think no one will notice the unfortunate comment, but 82% of consumers consult online reviews for local businesses spending approximately 13 minutes reading before making a decision. The negative review will be noticed! It’s tempting to focus on positive feedback and ignore the occasional negative voice but negative reviews affect the decisions customers make, drive down your listing on consumer review sites and have an impact on business outcomes. So, how should you handle that scathing comment?
- Respond promptly thus limiting damage, showing you value the consumer’s opinion and demonstrating care for customer service.
- Answer tactfully: Apologize. Appreciate the communication. Empathize without blaming. Express regret and explain the issue using sincere and non-condescending language. You may actually change the customer’s mind and turn the negative into a positive!
- Be authentic and honest: Do not use a canned response! Customers prefer an honest acknowledgement of a genuine mistake. Address negative reviews in a fair and heartfelt manner.
- Make a considered response: Collect your thoughts before responding. Find the merit in the review. Remain professional. Make it clear that you are happy to resolve the issue. Don’t ever attack or retaliate!
- Be appreciative: Negative reviews are actually a good way to keep customers coming back. They give you the opportunity to improve your company’s imperfections and let consumers know how you respond. So, appreciate the writer of a negative review.
- Take the communication offline: Leave a sincere and thoughtful public comment requesting contact information and asking the best way and time to communicate. Then take the discussion offline. Resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction, then leave a brief comment in the public timeline.
- Correct the issue: Take negative reviews seriously. Look for ways to improve. Brainstorm solutions and weigh the outcomes. Make the changes needed and then share this with the reviewer. Let customers know that feedback affects your business.
- Go above and beyond: Consider offering a credit, a gift card or flowers. Send a custom video or image to help improve the reviewer’s perception.
- Follow up with the reviewer making sure the issue has been remedied. Many customers will take a bad review down when they feel they have been treated fairly and a resolution has been reached.
- Remove fake/misleading reviews: Some negative reviews are not authentic (written by the competition, a disgruntled former employee, someone who is not an actual customer, etc.). These responses are against most terms of service agreements and can be removed when reported to the proper leadership of each platform.
- Share reviews with your employees (positive and negative) to ensure similar problems do not reoccur and to build a customer-centric mindset in your company.
- Monitor reviews: Position your business for success by consistently monitoring reviews and responding when necessary.
Everyone gets negative reviews! Don’t panic. Don’t take it personally. Deal with the situation appropriately and learn from the experience. Make changes when called for.
Need assistance handling negative reviews? Want help with your digital marketing strategy? Call us at (403) 456-0072 or email [email protected]. Allow us to be your very own marketing department! Connect with our tightly-knit team of knowledgeable digital-first consultants, each eager to help your business grow. Contact us today.