By Esmée Hardwick-Slack
The ever growing popularity of social media and review websites has changed the way that business are seen in the public eye. When everyone has a platform to express their thoughts and opinions to the world, businesses need to be more aware than ever with what their customers are saying about them and how to properly respond.
Fortunately, a negative review doesn’t have to result in lost business, instead, turn them into an opportunity to attract new customers.
Respond promptly & publicly
The online world never shuts down, meaning people often expect a quick response. It is important to deal with negative reviews promptly before they escalate, leading to more potential customers reading the review. It’s also important to address the issue publically. Acknowledging feedback shows everyone that their opinions aren’t falling on deaf ears, it shows that you’re present and willing to take on board customer feedback.
Follow up & follow through
It’s also a good idea to contact the person privately if possible. Taking it away from the public eye to let them know you value their feedback and would like the opportunity to improve things either as a business or directly for that customer.
You also have to remember to follow through. If you told your customer that action would be taken then make sure you do it and feed back to the customer. They may still be unwilling to change their review, but at least they can see that you care and are willing to take steps toward improvement.
Request that fake or misleading reviews be removed
If you ever get a review in error, maybe it was for the wrong company or if they aren’t a customer, then you can try to get it removed.
Examples of misleading reviews could include those written by:
- A friend or family
- A competitor
- Someone paid to write review who has not used your product/service
- A member (or ex member) of your staff
You can contact the review site and request it be moderated or removed, but this can take time. Be sure to still respond to the review, even if it’s just to say that it may have been made in error.
It’s important to note that this is not the same as asking for a negative review to be removed. Social media and reviews sites are about developing relationships, even though they may not always be positive.
Be polite, professional & own it
Don’t react personally to a bad review. Be sure to keep a level head, respond in a polite, professional manner. It’s important not to blame other people or create excuses, own it. No business is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes, nothing good will come of trying to pass the blame.
Learn from it
Take negative reviews as constructive criticism and try to work on anything that needs addressing on your end. The online world can be a harsh but honest place, but it’s important not to hide away from it and for you to listen and grow from your customer’s experiences.