“How should I respond to a bad review?” “Should I respond to bad reviews?”
These are questions I am asked from time-to-time. Unfortunately, for various reasons, sometimes businesses receive bad reviews.
Numerous studies have found that consumers highly value online reviews. In fact, a majority of people will never make a purchase without checking places like Google+, Yellow Pages, and Yelp to read a few reviews.
One of the reasons they read these reviews is to find out if previous customers have had any bad experiences with your brand. Did you fail to meet a customer’s expectations? Was one of your shipments unnecessarily delayed? If any of these were to happen, the angered customer will often head to one of the review sites and pour their hearts out, calling you all sorts of names.
This can seriously damage your reputation on and off the internet, and may cost you sales and customers.
So, how do you deal with these negative reviews? How do you ensure that they don’t ruin the reputation you worked so hard to build?
- Always respond
Failing to respond to a negative review is the biggest mistakes you can make. First, when you don’t respond, you’re worsening the damage. Other people visiting the review platform will be swayed by the reviewer’s comments. Secondly, failing to respond is a way of telling customers that you don’t care. No one wants to deal with an uncaring business in today’s world.
- Be prompt
Don’t wait for days to respond. The longer you wait, the worse the situation will get. If possible, respond immediately. However, since you may be busy, make it a point to respond within at most 48 hours. Beyond that, it might be too late.
- Keep a cool head
Don’t lose your temper over the matter. You’ll lose that customer and a couple of his or her friends. Even if the comments were overly harsh, to protect your business and avoid a publish backlash (which isn’t uncommon), keep your cool and soberly analyze the comments to determine what exactly might have angered the customer so much.
- Say “I am very sorry”
If the review’s name is Jackie, say, “Hi Jackie, I am very sorry…” Addressing the customer by name always has a positive effect as it makes conversations personal. Saying “I am very sorry” shows that you’re taking responsibility for whatever happened. Such an opening line will almost always win them over.
- State the measures you’ve taken
Tell them what you are doing or have done to ensure such a thing doesn’t happen again. If it was poor customer service, you can inform them that you’ve since spoken about that with your staff.
- Directly call them
For an even more personalized experience and to avoid public scrutiny, you can call the customer and directly speak to them. During the call, introduce yourself, thank them for using your service, thank them for the feedback, apologize for the bad experience, and assure them that it will never happen again.
- Close that chapter
When the matter is finally resolved, ask the once again happy customer to review you positively to even things out. They’ll do so gladly. With that done, move on!