As a business owner, you may be working very hard to provide your customers with a pleasant experience, but that does not guarantee you will not find any negative reviews about your brand or services. Even if 99% of the reviews are positive, you must try to address that one negative review. Any negative review can change how people look at your business. In this article, we will try to analyze how you can handle negative reviews.
Be Quick to Respond
Most companies fail to act quickly when dealing with a negative review. As an employer, you have an entire business to take care of. You are supposed to take care of your orders, your employees, and many other aspects of your business. So, it is understandable if you miss out on an occasional negative review. However, you must try and address the problem as soon as you are made aware of it. If you take too long to answer it, your apology may not come off as sincere. Additionally, reviews are date stamped, so everyone will easily be able to determine how long it took to address the problem.
Never Take it Personally
A negative review may often feel like a personal attack if you are the face of a brand or the owner of a business. However, you must remember that the customer does not know you personally. Therefore, you must never take a negative review personally.
Appreciate the Customer for Pointing Out the Mistake
If someone is criticizing your company, then it is highly probable that the person may be one of your regular consumers. This applies to both negative as well as positive reviews. And in the marketing world, getting people to talk about your business is one of the primary goals. Therefore, you must always make it a habit to thank all those who are taking the trouble of writing about your brand. This can have multiple benefits. Firstly, it will diffuse all the negativity. Secondly, the reviewer will feel heard and valued, and lastly, you will not come across as petty in front of other readers.
Customers can easily distinguish between a template response and a personalized response. Since negative reviews can seriously impact your business, you must take the time to write a customized response for the reviewer. You can start by addressing the reviewers by their names and introducing yourself. You must humanize the interaction as much as you can.
Most business owners tend to get defensive whenever they come across a negative review. Although it is a normal reaction, that is not the best way to handle the situation. Instead, you must empathize with the customer and try to understand their situation. If they have taken the time to write about their experience, it is your job to figure out what the trouble was. While writing your response, you must always keep in mind that the reviewers are, after all, human beings. This will help you in writing a compassionate response and prevent you from being overly defensive about the situation.
Offer a Suitable Solution
This step may be optional, but it is highly recommended. By offering a discount or a refund, you can help ease the tension. Additionally, you are also better prepared to ask for a testimonial after the problem has been solved. However, the downside of this kind of approach is that customers might make fake allegations just to get free stuff. It may be a cynical opinion but factual, nonetheless. Despite this knowledge, we must make an effort to help a customer in any way we can. Gestures like discounts or coupons can also help regain a customer for life.
Make it brief
While addressing a review, be it positive or negative, you must try to keep it short. Especially in the case of negative reviews, we might feel like giving out a full-fledged explanation, but that is probably the last thing you want to do. Such replies not only come off as defensive, but most of the reviewers simply ignore such more extended responses. Additionally, you are unknowingly validating the negative comments once you start answering them in that fashion. You may write a full-page explanation, but at the end of the day, you must accept your fault, apologize, and empathize with the reviewer.
Try to Take it Offline
The tips mentioned above should take care of most of your unhappy customers. You might want to take the matter on a more private platform to handle the ones left. There may be customers who might not be willing to let you off so easily. In that case, it would be better if you could reach out to your customer via phone, direct message, or even video chat. This way, you are catering to the needs of such customers while negotiating with them on your terms.
Responding to negative reviews is part and parcel of modern-day business. It helps maintain integrity and can help in the long run. As a business owner, you can easily ignore the negative reviews, but that would only ensure that they never return to your brand. Additionally, such customers are bound to share their experiences with others, damaging your reputation further. Instead, if you can solve the entire matter with a 5-minute chat or a few lines of response, it can change how people view your business.