As a small online business you will receive the occasional bad negative review. It’s impossible to avoid entirely, and the fact that every customer (even the unhappy ones) has an equal say ultimately gives the consumer more power which is a good thing. That being said, you hope that every single customer loves your products or services so much that they tell everyone about how great it is on Google or social media.
Unfortunately, people are far more likely to leave a review about a negative experience than a positive one, so you need to know how to handle the situation expertly, and turn their bad experience into a positive one.
It Isn’t Personal
Reading a scathing review of your business can feel like a personal attack. Your company might be your livelihood, and when someone attacks it, it’s like they’re attacking you personally. Keep in mind your customers might not have an issue with you— they’re only upset with the experience they had at your business. Don’t get defensive. Instead, take a deep breath, relax, and get ready to start the dialogue.
Don’t Ignore Them
If a customer walked into your store and brought a complaint to you in-person, you wouldn’t just ignore them, would you? The same is true for the online world. Remember, 90% of people read an online review before visiting a local business. For this reason, when you respond to this negative review, you’re also responding to the 90% of people reading the review too.
In your response, always start with an apology as well as a statement to reaffirm your commitment to providing top-notch services to everyone. From there we recommend you add the manager’s email or phone number so the customer can contact you directly; there’s no need to address all of the details of their complaints in public.
From there, you can work with the customer to find a solution to their problem all while remaining friendly, sympathetic, and trustworthy. Even if you aren’t able to fully correct the issue, by taking the time to work with the customer they will see your brand in a more positive light because of your efforts. After all, you want to provide quality services to all of your customers; not just the ones that leave positive reviews.
What Happens Next?
Once you’ve gotten in contact with the customer and you’ve corrected the problem, you should try asking if they can update their review. It won’t work 100% of the time, but if you provided quality customer service and corrected their issue, many customers will have no problem updating their review to reflect your care.
Always be aware of your negative reviews. You can learn a lot from them
Also, take a close look at your negative reviews. What can you learn from them? Many business owners focus too much on the positive reviews to see what they’re doing right but are afraid to confront the faults in their products or service. Did the customer have a problem with your staff? Did you sell a defective product to them? Did you misquote your services? Whatever it was, there might be an underlying issue within your company you should work to correct.
Those are the tips to help you deal with negative reviews online. You can’t please everyone, but if you make an effort to work with even the grumpiest reviewer, your customers will take notice. To summarize:
- Don’t be defensive
- Respond to them promptly
- Take the conversation offline and fix the problem
- See if they can provide an updated review
- Take this as a learning experience
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