Here are some ways you can handle negative review in your business, using a variety of different channels.
Owning a business can be a daunting endeavor.
It comes with many challenges and obstacles, but can be rewarding when executed properly.
However, one of the most challenging aspects of owning a business is managing the expectations of your customers or audience.
Mistakes are bound to happen from time to time.
Depending on the type of business you run, this can be in the form of a wrong dish in a restaurant, poor content delivery for a social media client, a late deadline submission, or anything in between.
Sometimes these negative comments may even come without any sort of mistake on your part, but simply things that are beyond your control, or miscommunication of expectation.
You can’t predict or change someone’s opinion, but you can control how you respond.
Regardless of how you received these negative comments, your business reputation is the one at stake.
And although you can’t predict or change someone’s review, you can take the higher road and control how you respond to their comments in a way that will save your reputation.
Acknowledge and Apologize
The first and foremost is to acknowledge the mistake and apologize to the reviewer.
No matter how you think of your business, the customer’s experience is still their experience and not yours.
There is no reason to argue with how someone feels because that is something you cannot change.
What you can do is apologize without supporting their criticism.
This act of sympathy may be challenging at times, but it can go a long way to diffuse a potential conflict or confrontation down the line.
A simple statement such as “We’re sorry to hear about your experience” is more than enough to address how they feel about your business without confirming or supporting anything they throw at you.
This is good for online review pages or comments section where you can publicly interact directly with the customer.
Take the situation offline
In some cases, even your prompt and empathic response may not be enough to diffuse an upset customer.
In this case, it would be much better if you take initiative and take matters offline and address the matter on a personal basis.
There are certain benefits of doing it this way. First, it shifts the power dynamic from a big corporation, down to a face-to-face encounter.
You also have the ability to address the complaint directly with the person.
Use this opportunity to apologize for their bad experience, and also as a note for future reference.
A second benefit is that by addressing a complaint directly with them, it shows that your company takes their customer service seriously enough to warrant a personal meeting with them.
Meeting with the customer offline to address a concern can be applied to virtually any type of business.
If it’s a guest at a hotel or restaurant, you can ask them to meet in person there in the physical location.
Or if meeting in person is not possible, you can also give the customer a phone number that they can call, and have someone on standby to address the concern personally via a phone call.
Keep it short
It can be tempting to impulsively respond to a negative review and deny their comments to defend your business reputation.
However, when it comes to responding to negative comments, it is almost always better to keep it short, regardless of how unfair you think the review may be.
By keeping your response short, you’re displaying an heir of composure to the customer, and more importantly, to everyone else reading through the review.
Long, winded responses make it seem like you’re defensive and actually legitimize that negative comment.
For that reason, it is best to keep the management responses short.
Additionally, keep in mind that whatever you respond to the customer will be there permanently for everyone to see.
The last thing you want is to jeopardize your future customers with your own short-fused comments.
Keeping it short is especially helpful when responding on Twitter, where everyone can publicly see the comment as well as your response.
Plus, the character count is already limited in the first place.
Offer to make it right
When the opportunity presents itself, make the extra effort to make things right with your customer.
Their unhappy experiences can potentially repel future customers.
If you’re a restaurant owner you can offer a free meal on the house, or if they received a damaged shirt that you were selling offer them a replacement for free as soon as possible.
The main takeaway here is to work with your dissatisfied customer and treat them how you would want to be treated in their position.
This type of scenario occurs a lot in e-commerce sites such as Amazon, where customers can directly write a review of the product directly underneath the page.
By responding quickly to the negative review, and making things right to the dissatisfied customers, you are showcasing one of the highlights of your business, an excellent customer service that cares about the satisfaction and happiness of their customers.
Being able to respond to critiques is important for the growth of your business.
Additionally, the reviews of your business are one of the first things prospective customers or clients will take a look at.
Therefore, it is always better to respond to a review – good or bad – rather than to leave it as is.
In fact, leaving a bad review without any sort of response signals to future customers that you don’t care about their satisfaction and make it seem like you’re not an active participant in your business.
At the very least, if someone happens to see the review and your response, they’ll know that the management is responsive and takes care of its reputation and quality.
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