At some point, your business will likely receive a negative online review. Around one third of customers will post online following sub-par customer service, and those comments will be seen by their network and beyond.
Of course, good or bad reviews can have an effect on your brand – but your company’s response is just as important. Today we share some tips and thoughts on Handling Negative Reviews.
A public response makes 65% of customers more brand loyal, and 25% percent become less likely to go somewhere else or post negative things (Sprout Social).
A few things to do before sitting down to write a public response:
Responding to a negative review is more difficult and not nearly as much fun as responding to a positive review – but your customers expect it.
A proper response can often lead customers to edit, remove, or even replace their negative online reviews. You may even be able to convert complainers into advocates by showing off your excellent customer service or providing some much needed product knowledge.
It’s easy (and totally natural) to feel upset over a bad review – but you should never respond to it while you’re in that state.
Remember that your response will be public, and is going to remain there for possibly thousands of potential customers to read, long after you’ve written it. So make sure to take some time to calm down before firing off a snarky or defensive response.
Handling Negative Reviews – Research the Incident
If necessary, speak to your staff to learn more about the incident. Keep in mind you’re not using this info to fire back at the customer about why they are wrong.
Learn why the bad situation might have happened, and how you can educate the customer and/or how you can improve processes at your company.
Researching the incident may also involve speaking privately with the reviewer to find out more details.
5 Steps When Responding to Negative Reviews
Ok, now that you’re calm, informed, and ready to write a positive response to a negative comment –
Here’s the 5-Step anatomy of a great response:
- Listen – Genuinely listen and try to understand the customer’s point of view. In a good percentage of situations, people just want to be heard, and they will appreciate knowing that there is a human listening on the other end.
- Acknowledge – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment, and acknowledge how the situation might feel if you were on the receiving end. Example: “Waiting for something in the mail only to find it doesn’t work is frustrating.”
- Apologize – Always take the high road! Apologize even if the other person is totally wrong, and being a jerk about it. Identify the main complaint and address it specifically. Example: “We apologize for the cold food!” You can even throw in some marketing that points out your usually high standards. “That is not the standard of service you should come to expect.”
- Resolve – It is best to avoid a back-and-forth discussion online. Instead, direct the conversation offline via a phone call to the manager or owner, making sure to provide name and contact information.
- Learn – Always thank the customer for their feedback, because, at the end of they day, even negative feedback is an opportunity for your business to improve. Use feedback to learn about your audience, improve your product, re-train staff, reduce waste, or increase efficiency.
This may seem like a lot, but be sure to keep your responses short and sweet to three to four sentences.
Here is a sample:
[Customer Name], thank you for your feedback. We are very sorry to hear about your experience, and we apologize for [specific mistake or problem]. At our business, we pride ourselves on excellent service and quality, and we’re sorry that wasn’t the case for you. Please contact [Name, Job Title] at [Email, phone number], as we would like to make up for your disappointment.
Remember, you can obtain more positive reviews to offset the negative or move it down the timeline. Handling Negative Reviews are key to your online brand reputation. Keep monitoring consistently so you can stay on top of negative and positive reviews. Your customers will appreciate it!
Handling Negative Reviews
Yes it can be tricky, but with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to handling them with grace and turning haters into brand advocates.
Tellofy provides an end to end solution for review acquisition, customer engagement and growth all powered by UGC (User Generated Content) in the form of reviews and word of mouth referrers. Businesses also get in depth customer insights & review analytics.
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