- Posted by Adam Smith
- On 08/11/2019
Whether you like it or not, customer feedback is vital to the success of your business.
It provides an insight into what you’re doing right – and wrong – and allows you to address the latter before it starts to hit your profits.
Online reviews have also become the first port of call for anyone looking to buy a product or service and we’re not overstating it when we say they can make or break your business.
Getting glowing reviews from clients can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But when things go wrong and someone drops the dreaded one-star rating hammer how you react is crucial.
There have been some well documented cases of business owners throwing their toys out of the pram when they’ve received a negative review.
Sometimes the review is genuine and the business owner’s reaction is wholly unjustified, while other times the review has been left maliciously and does not accurately reflect a real experience.
Either way, it’s crucial that you respond, and respond in the right way.
How Do I Respond To Negative Reviews Online?
Firstly, take a deep breath and don’t go anywhere near your keyboard! The urge to hammer out your anger right away is strong, but also a huge mistake.
If people see you slating anyone who complains about the service they’ve received from you, they’ll lose respect for you and your business and it’ll only add credibility to the original negative review.
So, the first thing to do is to go away and consider what the reviewer has said and investigate the issue.
Quiz staff, check security footage, in fact do whatever you need to do to establish the facts as far as you can.
Once you’ve calmed down and you’ve got the whole picture you’re ready to respond. And in nearly every case, as hard as this may be to swallow, you need to start with an apology.
Start by telling the customer that you’re sorry they’ve had a bad experience with your company, then mention that it’s a rare occurrence for [insert the nature of their complaint here] to happen.
At this point it’s a good idea to encourage a direct dialogue between you and the customer.
Suggest that you give them a call to discuss the matter further to avoid creating a large – and public – message flow centering on a complaint.
This has the effect of making the customer feel valued and showing anyone researching your business that you care about complaints and are keen to address them.
All being well you’ll end up speaking to the customer directly. At his point it’s vital that you listen carefully to what they have to say and remain calm.
Even if you feel they’re being unfair, don’t get into a row as they may decide to post their review on a few more sites.
Be patient, concerned and address each of the points they make in a well-judged and intelligent manner.
They’ll appreciate the chance to vent and you can then take any necessary steps to rectify the situation, such as offering them a discount on their next purchase/visit.
If all goes well, by the end of the conversation the customer will feel better and so will you.
In the best-case scenario they’ll also go away and revise their review, or at least highlight the fact that you’ve taken the trouble to properly address their concerns and maybe even give you a little bit of praise for your customer service.
In situations where a review is completely untrue or malicious and you do not feel it’s right to open up a dialogue between you and the customer you need to approach the platform (such as Google or TripAdvisor) where it was left and embark on the long-winded process of trying to persuade them to remove it.
If this fails and the review remains, it’s a good idea encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews on the site in question to bury the negative one.
How Do I Respond To Positive Reviews Online?
The glowing praise for the exceptional service provided by your company is there for all to see online, job done, right?
Not quite. Positive reviews can be leveraged to further benefit your business and create a buzz around your brand.
Writing a polite thank you reply to the reviewer telling them that you’re really pleased to hear their feedback and thrilled that they had such a good experience keeps the positive flow of conversation going. It may also encourage others who’ve had a similar experience to add their voice.
It also presents you with the opportunity to add a cheeky bit of marketing to your reply by highlighting an offer or deal that you’re currently running and inviting them to take advantage of it.
Other people reading through the reviews will see your reply and note that you’re attentive to your customers, while also seeing the offer you’re currently running.
Positive review + good deal = new customer!
If you’d like to have an informal chat with a member of the Topline PR team drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07543 195476.