If you’re online, odds are, people are talking about you. And as much as I’d like to tell you they all say, “You’re the best,” well, they probably don’t. Negative reviews are going to happen. The way you handle those reviews can have a huge impact on your business, both with current customers and potential ones.
- Monitor your presence
The first part of responding to a negative review is knowing one exists. You need to be consistently monitoring your online presence and social/review platforms. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to dealing with online reviews. It’s simply bad for business. A prompt response can go a long way toward dealing with a complaint. Try a reputation monitoring tool such as Review Trackers to keep a close eye on what’s being said about your business.
- Apologize…In the right manner
Time to put pen to paper—actually fingers to keyboard. First step: apologize. ‘I’m sorry,’ is one of the most powerful phrases at our disposal, and it can go a long way to appease someone who’s had a bad experience. Be careful how you phrase the apology though. When you read the review, you should know whether the company was at fault. If you don’t know, take the time to find out. It changes the approach you take to the apology and the solution. If the issue wasn’t your fault, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” is a better approach than “I’m sorry we messed this up.”
- Address head on and provide a solution
When responding, address the issue head on. It’s important to your reviewer that they know you’re sorry they had this problem. You should communicate what may have gone wrong and what has been or is being done so it doesn’t happen again. Providing a solution or next step lets your audience know you’re working to improve the business and overall customer experience. A simple, “We’ve put a new process in place,” can mean a lot to a potential customer as well as the person who issued the review.
- Take it offline if necessary
Not all issues can be dealt with simply by replying with one comment. If need be, take the issue offline and contact the reviewer directly. A personal approach can often be the best approach. However, make sure to leave some response on the platform for others who may be reading.
- Know your audience
Lastly, it’s important to know who you’re responding to. Hint hint, it’s not just the person who wrote the review. Whether it be Yelp, Facebook or any other site, prospects are reading to see how you handle the situation. Take Yelp, for instance, which has a 1/9/90 Rule. One percent of people create content, nine percent edit content, and 90 percent simply consume content. That’s a lot of people eager and ready to read your response. How you handle a negative review online can be the difference between a potential customer choosing your business or not.
You’re bound to get negative reviews online but take the chance to look at them as opportunities. As long as none of you result to physical threats and you follow the guide above, you’ll be a pro at handling negative reviews on the web (see how not to deal with a bad review).
As always, if you need any consultation, feel free to reach out to us here.by