People say negative reviews are scary. Actually they are! No business wants to see a negative review.
How do you handle these reviews when they pop up? Do you ignore them or even delete them acting like it never occurred? Well this would not make the situation any better, it would only damage your reputation the more.
Impressions are formed based on information available out there. It is said that 88% of people read online reviews to determine the quality of a business. Therefore if potential customers are only privy to bad reviews about your business, this will negatively affect their perception of your brand.So when next a negative review pops up, do not panic. Your priority should be handling the situation effectively to make them turn around to write positive reviews. With a careful plan and timely response, this can be achieved and the people complaining can turn around to become your most loyal fans and advocates.
This leads us to the big question. How do you handle negative reviews?
Create an Appropriate Channel
The first thing to do is ensure an appropriate channel is available and known to your customers.This is where they can report issues and complaints directly with an assurance of getting it resolved. By doing this, you gain control and the ability to contain any negative situation. It is in the absence of this that they will go on any and every platform to drop negative reviews.
The key thing is Promptness. Respond Immediately
Your first reaction should be to respond quickly once a negative review pops up. Ignoring it would not make it go away and deleting it wouldn’t solve it either. In fact it would only present you as a business that doesn’t care about their customers and reputation. Therefore, your response should be prompt and professional. Also, the initial channel used to drop the review should be the same as that of the response. This is so that people see your response after which you can move it offline. Remember, this is an opportunity for you to present yourself as a business who cares and is willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.
Take the Conversation Offline
Doing this enables you to get specific details that can help facilitate a solution more quickly. Respond and request for an email or phone number to get in touch with them. For example “We are so sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. Please reach out to us at so we can discuss this further.” or “Please send a number we can reach you on to discuss further.”
Always keep an eye on social media platforms and review sites so you get to know about any negative situation before it goes out of control. This way, you are able to remain close to your customers and minimize the effect of any damage that might occur. Social media monitoring tools such as mention, google alerts, socialmention, Hootsuite etc. can be used here.
Apologise and Offer Solutions
You are responsible for every experience your customer has therefore, identify the source of the problem and offer a solution. This should be as straightforward as possible. Customers hate getting tossed around. Apologising shows that you have taken responsibility and you understand a mistake has been made and you are willing to make it right. This is also an opportunity for you to impress customers so make it count.
Follow up on Solution Provided
It is not enough to provide a solution. You have to follow up with your customers to ensure that their problem has been fixed and they are happy with the outcome.
Learn From It
See this as a learning curve and a marketing opportunity for your business. Do not dwell on the bad reviews. Take the corrections learnt from the experience and use it to plan for the future, to avoid similar situations. Getting honest opinions from your customers is a crucial way to grow your business.
Here are a few more noteworthy takeaways asides the above mentioned points:
- Always remain polite when responding to negative reviews
- If it is truly the customers fault, you can correct them but do so politely
- An improper response can be more disastrous then the negative review itself
- It is okay to delete a few negative comments if you feel the reviewer is being overtly inappropriate or unproductive
- Respond to the reviews like a person and not an organisation
Negative reviews can be lousy at first, however in the long run if managed well can be good for the business. Next time you see a negative review, adopt these steps and get your customers to switch from the negatives to positives.