For any business owner, reading a negative review can make your heart sink. You put blood, sweat, and tears into your company, so when someone says something bad about it, it’s hard not to take it personally. However, in today’s digital age, the way in which you handle negative feedback is of huge importance. If you argue with a disgruntled customer on Twitter, it’s not something you can just brush under the carpet – once it’s on the World Wide Web, it’s there forever! So, how should you deal with negative reviews online? Here are some suggestions…
Breathe and put yourself in the customer’s shoes
The first thing you need to do is take a minute to breathe. It’s easy to fly off the handle when you read a comment that’s not so favourable about your business. How dare they? However, you need to remember that your company’s reputation is on the line, and so rash actions are never recommended. Although there are exceptions, there tends to be a reason why a poor review has been left. A lot of the time, customers want to help you improve, rather than simply trying to beat you down. This is why it is imperative to try and see the issue from the customer’s point of view, rather than taking it personally. Imagine yourself as a customer. Read into the language they have used and try to figure out where things have gone wrong. You need to understand the problem before you can take the correct action. By being empathetic, you will be able to reply in the most personable and professional manner.
Our natural instinct encourages us to put those walls up. We start to think that we are being targeted. However, while we can get the odd person who is simply trying to cause trouble, most of the time people simply want to express their thoughts so that they can enjoy a better service next time. Viewing bad feedback is an opportunity is the best thing that you can do to drive your business forward. Rather than taking offence, you need to consider why the person feels the way that they do and what you could do to make changes to ensure that no one feels the same again. Simply switching your attitude and thinking like this can make a massive difference.
Do some research
Once you fully understand what the problem is, you should then do some research. You need to understand the consumer journey, which can involve pulling up relevant correspondence and tracking website movement. Try replicating the same experience to see if you have any bumps in the road. Perhaps the issue stemmed from one of your suppliers, for example, your courier? If so, get in touch and demand an explanation. You are only going to be able to turn this negative into a positive if you find out why the mistake happened so that you can find a solution.
With so many different facets of your business, it can be easy to overlook something. There may be a clear and evident issue with your business processes that you do not even realise. This is often the case. The resolve can then be easy. All you need to do is make the required changes. You can then get in touch with the customer so that they know that you have listened to their comment and made the required changes. Of course, there are times whereby it is simply not going to be this easy. For example, you may struggle to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong. However, it is critical that you do. You need to make sure that you get to the bottom of what has happened so that other customers do not end up experiencing the same sort of problem. After all, one bad review is hard to take. However, if you get a ton of people that keep leaving the same negative comments, it can start to become a tag that is associated with your business, and this is the last thing you want.
Respond to the negative comment
The next step is to respond to the negative feedback you have received. It is easy to try and brush the comment under the carpet, but this won’t get you anywhere. In fact, according to a study published by Trustpilot, 61 per cent of people say that simply getting a response to their complaint is reward enough. You should spend time crafting your response. It needs to be apologetic and professional. The wrong response could create more frustration and anger, which leads the negative feeling to snowball and get worse and worse. This is the most sensitive part of the process. After all, you could turn this into a positive, but you could just as easily make the situation ten times worse if your reply comes across as condescending or unapologetic.
Publicise the response and ask the consumer to modify their review
You should make sure that your response is made public. Why? Because this is a good opportunity to build trust online. The goal here is to show that your business cares about its customers and that you have acknowledged and understood their grievances, and that you have done everything in your power to right this wrong. You should also ask the consumer to modify their review – if the exchange went well, of course. If you have provided a solution that the customer is happy with, you should ask if they would be happy to update the review and let everyone know that you resolved the issue. Don’t push the matter, though. You don’t want the customer to change the review and tell everyone you have been pushing them to leave more positive messages about your business!
Even if you have not managed to make any contact with the customer in question, simply leaving a response on their comment in an attempt to resolve the problem can make a huge difference. This shows that you care about your customers and what they think. It shows that you want to go that extra mile to keep your customers happy. You want them to be content with the service you provide and you don’t want to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth. You cannot control what the customer does, but you can control what you do. Leaving a message and attempting to resolve the issue shows other people that you are committed to giving customers true value and that you care about them.
Dedicate yourself to doing better
We also recommend looking into your customer service approach. Is your customer support team truly helping customers and doing everything that can to ensure any issues or queries are resolved? Live chat is a great tool to add to your website today, and it is something that we are seeing more and more business owners take advantage of. It is not difficult to see why. After all, live chat enables people to get instant responses to any questions that they may have. You can find more details on live chat services online. This will enable you to get a better understanding of how they work and the different options that are available to you.
In today’s digital age, it is all about convenience. No one wants to wait when it comes to making a purchase or getting the help that they need. This is why you need to make sure that your live chat feature works efficiently. It should be a help, not a hindrance, so choose your supplier with care.
Aside from this, make sure that you commit yourself to regularly reviewing your performance and your online operations. This should be a never-ending process. After all, things change all of the time, from the latest trends to customers’ wants and expectations. If you do not stay in the know and committed to improving your website, you are only going to end up getting left behind, and those bad reviews will start to creep up again. This is why it is imperative to make sure that continual improvement is a big goal for your business.
So there you have it: some useful tips when it comes to dealing with negative reviews online. It does not matter how great your business is, it is likely that you will have to deal with a few negative comments from time-to-time. Use the tips mentioned in this blog post to ensure you turn this into an opportunity rather than digging yourself into a bigger hole.