When it comes to running a successful business, reputation is everything. Not only does having an impeccable reputation help potential customers find you, but it also influences whether they will choose your product or service, as well as whether they will recommend you to family and friends, or whether they’ll warn them to avoid your company.
It’s great to have a beautiful site and to brag about how great your company is on social media, but what matters more is what customers are saying publicly about their experience with your business. While it’s nice to see a bunch of reviews raving about their experience with your company, it only takes a few negative reviews to start tarnishing your reputation. If you care about your brand reputation, knowing how to deal with negative reviews can help mitigate their impact. Here are a few tips to consider:
Learn to Respond Appropriately
It’s only human nature to react defensively when some attacks you or you think they are bad-mouthing you, but when it comes to trying to solve negative experiences, it’s the exact opposite of what should be done. It is possible that the person’s review was not warranted, based on circumstances beyond your control, or just a misunderstanding on the customer’s part. Diffusing the situation is much better for your reputation than fanning the flames by responding aggressively or defensively. Take a step back for a cooling-off period before you reply to any complaints.
When you are sufficiently calm, be kind and apologize to the customer. Let them know you are sorry they had a bad experience. Treat them like you care. This usually helps them let their guard down and real communication can begin. Listen to the customer and ask what can be done to set the situation right.
Take it Offline
Everything doesn’t need to be hashed out in a back-and-forth conflict online. Offer to take care of the situation by providing contact information to speak personally with someone who would be happy to resolve the issue with them. Do not give in to the urge to leave negative comments on people’s negative reviews. Be professional, and simply leave a short comment saying something like, “We are sorry to hear that you’ve had a bad experience. We would love for you to contact us to speak with a representative to help resolve your issues”. Other people looking for reviews will see your replies, so keep it professional and considerate.
After a Negative Review
So, you have reached out to an unhappy customer – what happens next? Well, in a perfect world the reviewer would update or modify their original review. At that point they are signaling they may give your company another chance and are essentially advertising your company at the same time. That’s why you should never ignore a bad review – with the right approach and attitude it is possible to turn a negative review into a positive outcome. Every situation is different, and the reviewer may decide not to remove their bad review. That’s okay, especially if their review was harsh because people seeing your pleasant, helpful response will think well of a company that reacts with kindness and concern.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to turning a bad review into a good experience, it’s a good idea to imagine what if you were in your customer’s shoes. Most people searching online for products and services do some research, which includes reading through the company’s online reviews. If you received a poor product or service and left a negative review, how would you like that company to approach your complaint? Most likely, you’d like them to politely put it right, which is what all businesses who care about their reputation should do.