Negative customer reviews always hurt… no matter if you’re a family owned business or a multi-billion dollar industry, everyone eventually feels the sting of a less than positive customer experience. Here are three tips on how to handle reviews for your business.
1. Respond immediately.
While it seems logical to not want to add fuel to a fire, when you don't acknowledge someone's experience, the perception of fault instantly falls on the business owner (even if it wasn’t). When you respond to a review (good or bad) you are showing validation to your customer's concerns and showing prospective customers that you are attentive and striving to improve your customer service!
2. Take ownership and explain your side of the story.
Even if you're dealing with a particularly difficult or unhappy customer, by taking ownership of their negative experience you remove a lot of unnecessary drama and back and forth. You don’t have to apologize for your business's policies to empathize with how someone feels.
Explain your side of the story (...if there is one). Confusion or misunderstanding can quickly be solved when you remain calm and rational. Depending on the cause of the bad review sometimes a customer may be confused on pricing, policies or rules; and if that is the case, fingers don’t need to be pointed. If that is the case, explain to the upset customer why they may have had the experience they did. If the review is based on criticism of customer service, then you have 2 options...Solve it internally or externally.
Was poor customer service the cause of their negative experience? Where they mistreated? If so, it’s time for a team meeting. When fault actually falls in your corner, be sincere about your apology and try to make amends. No sector of business is perfect and when you acknowledge your own mistakes and express that this is a lesson your team will learn from not only will both parties be happy but potential customers will admire your excellent customer service!
3. Respond to your positive reviews!
Value the customers that value you! While it seems logical to respond to criticism, remember to reply to those who've to share their positive experiences. After all, they're the ones who are making you look good. A common courtesy that hasn't transitioned yet to digital platforms is simply saying thank you to loyal customers. Manners go a long way in real life and are immortalized online.
Whether negative reviews are valid or fictitious. Prospective customers hold in high regard the experiences of their peers when interacting with your business. According to Zendesk, over 80% of consumers rely solely on online reviews. Word of mouth reputation never goes out of style, customer loyalty is the backbone of any business, and they are the heart and soul of our business. It’s been reported by genesys that positive customers reviews and experiences increases customer retention by 42%. They’ve also predicted that by 2018, more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations! You can take charge and control of your customer experience today by saying 2 simple phrases, “I’m sorry” and “thank you!”