Negative reviews are a part of doing business and always have been. However, in this technological age they are more visible, more urgent, and can cause greater damage than before. That's why it is important now, more than ever to appropriately mediate those reviews. Do not fret, because they can be easily handled and it could even boost your company image if it's done in a professional and genuine fashion. Keep in mind that no matter the situation, one of the most important things to do and the first step when dealing with negative reviews is to simply listen to the customer. Below are five rules that will help any company or organization when dealing with negative reviews and get business back on track.
1. Demonstrate that you are Listening to your client
When responding to negative reviews from a client or customer, make sure to include specific information that was referenced in the original post because the number one rule in customer service is to listen to your clients. While a “canned” or automated response may be an easy way to answer reviews, it may only alienate your customer base, leaving them feeling like you're not really listening. Instead listen to them and then take the extra time to provide an honest response that will put them at ease and hopefully bring them closer.
2. Clarify and state the facts
Getting into a heated back and forth quarrel online won’t look good to potential customers who are looking to see how you handle problems. That said, it is okay to clarify and state the evidences in a matter of fact way. Make sure the tone of your response is friendly and that you don’t come across as defensive.
3. Invite them to contact you offline
Try and get the agitated customer to contact you directly so that you can figure out a mutually agreeable solution offline. You’ll want to express concern for their issues and invite them to call or email you directly. The idea is to not get into a protracted battle of words online for others to see.
4. Offer assistance of some sort
If there is a way to clarify a misunderstanding or to right a wrong, then by all means please do it. In today’s world, words travel quickly and if you have legitimately not performed to your best for that customer often times it will be worth your while to fix the problem and turn your client’s frown upside down. In your response online, it will be important to note the help that you offered to this patron so that future customers can read that you won’t leave them hanging if there is an issue.
5. Respond as Quick as Possible
We are often surprised that many business owners are not aware of their online reputation and what kind of customer reviews they have received. Knowing what is said and when it was said is of key importance. You’ll want to mitigate damaging reviews as soon as you can so that the distressed customer won’t have time spread their malcontent to their friends and family. Quick responses also show that you are a dutiful manager and that you have your act together. Forbes did a study and found that “71% of consumers receiving a quick brand response on social media say they would likely recommend that brand to others.” If you have any hope of making a disgruntled customer happy, you’re best bet is to not let a lot of grass grow under your feet before you get back to them.