Guest post by Sophia Mest
Whether you are selling a product or offering a service, receiving negative reviews is always going to be a part of the business. Upon receipt of a bad review, no matter how many times you have got them in the past, your first instinct will be to defend your reputation at all costs. And who can blame you? You built your business from the ground up, so it is second nature to protect it, however being overly defensive is exactly the opposite of what you should do.
There are certain steps that you can take to make a negative review work for you in a positive way while protecting your reputation and making your customers happy.
The best way to manage negative reviews is to avoid getting them in the first place.
Take a look at the five steps below and you turn your weakness into a strength.
The first thing that you need to do when you receive a bad review is respond. As I mentioned above, you will want to protect your business and your integrity, and to ignore a customer’s complaint – no matter how outlandish it is – is the best way to damage your reputation.
If you respond quickly, you will show your customers that you care and that you are open to criticism, which in turn makes you and your company look professional. You have to remember that online complaints can be seen by everyone, so quickly responding shows people that they are dealing with humans and not a big corporation that values their customers’ money over their satisfaction.
2. Don’t be generic
Nine times out of ten, just responding isn’t enough. It does show that you care and are always willing to make your customers have a satisfactory experience. However, simply responding with a generic post that you send to multiple people can often do more damage to your business than ignoring the complaint.
Carefully craft each response, make it personal and detailed, use their name and be specific about their complaint; this is how you show them and other customers that you have taken the time to help instead of brushing it off.
3. Highlight your strengths / correct inaccuracies
Often when you receive a negative review, the complaint can be exaggerated with the intent to cause damage to your business. If you then simply apologize, it will look as if this exaggeration is something that occurs on a regular basis, and you will lose current and future customers.
To avoid this, when you respond make sure that you correct any inaccuracies while at the same time highlighting your company’s strengths. Doing so will showcase the fact that this complaint was a one-off, and it wasn’t as bad as the customer made it out to be.
4. Take it offline
A great thing to do to make sure that your customers know that you are doing everything in your power to correct the problems by offering an offline solution. Tell the customer to contact your customer services by phone or personally, and propose several solutions to the problem. This shows that you are willing to stop at nothing to make them happy as well as taking the complaint away from the public eye.
5. Offer restitution
Finally, to prove to your customers that you care about their experience with your product or your service, you should offer some form of restitution. Obviously, you should only do so if it is warranted, but offering a half-price deal or a coupon if you are in the wrong sends a great message to your clientele.
Next time you receive a negative review, don’t get defensive, don’t ignore them and don’t be down on yourself or your business. As you have seen above, there are ways to turn a negative into a positive. And not only will your customers be happy as well as knowing they can count on you to fix problems when things go wrong, but you also grow as a business and eliminate future mishaps. It’s a win-win situation, so take note of the steps above and put them into practice the next time you receive a negative review.
Sophia Mest is a Content Manager at BizDb, where she aspires to put her writing passion into practice and spread her words across the world. She spends her free time travelling and exploring the wonders of nature. Follow her on Twitter @MestSophia