Let’s face it — it’s daunting to see a negative review on your business. It can harm potential customers and significantly affect one’s image.
Reading reviews is a basic intuition of people before purchasing a product or service. In a 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey, almost 87% of consumers look at local businesses’ online reviews. Reviews can significantly impact the behavior and trust of a customer; thus, it is valid and fairly common to feel disheartened by receiving a negative review on your business.
But keep in mind, these negative reviews should not be seen as a failure. While it is ideal for getting a 100% positive rating, pleasing customers all the time is nearly impossible. Each of their standards significantly varies, and sometimes, some reasons are beyond one’s control, such as a delayed delivery from a 3rd party courier or a mismatch of customer’s expectations.
Learning from the customer’s feedback is a part of the process and critical for your business to improve. Here are some tips on how to make negative reviews an opportunity to grow and better your business:
1. Don’t Take the Situation Too Personally
A negative review can stir up emotions that may lead to an unnecessary and reckless response. It is important to first handle the situation with a clear mind and get to the root of the problem. Ask yourself questions such as:
Is there a common trend from negative feedback?
Thoroughly read through the reviews. Pay attention to the similarities of the concerns being stated.
Which particular part of the product or service was dissatisfying for the consumer?
Stick with the facts and evaluate them. Are the customers concerned with the quality of the product? Is there a problem with the 3rd party service involved? Was the service provided by the staff underwhelming?
What can I do, moving forward, to solve this problem?
As you get a clearer view of the problem, you now need to wear the solutions-oriented hat and see what you should do moving forward. Try to see if the negative review is something within your control or a 3rd party source problem. Perhaps talk to the involved party or find a new supplier. If it’s an issue with the product quality, maybe you can consider upgrading certain details and features. Is it a problem with the staff? Maybe providing further assistance or training is a good next step.
Being objective is crucial when handling feedbacks. When giving a response, keep it professional. Don’t take the negative reviews too personally, rather see them as a guide to the necessary action points you must make.
2. Respond ASAP
Nothing’s worse than seeing a negative review than an unacknowledged negative review! Promptly handling the negative review is an imperative course of action. In a survey conducted by The Social Habit, 42% of consumers expect a response from social media accounts of businesses and brands within an hour.
Just imagine seeing an exceptional looking product, then you start scrolling through the reviews section and notice the negative comments left by customers regarding, let’s say, the damaged item upon receiving it. When there’s no response from the brand or company, it may seem as if they don’t care about the customer’s concern. Perhaps they’re steering clear from any responsibility that comes after a customer receives their faulty product.
Respond quickly. This shows that you value your customer and that you hear them. By having this kind of attitude, a customer is more likely to make amends and discuss possible resolutions.
3. Apologize Sincerely
From a customer’s perspective, it doesn’t matter if it’s really your fault or not. To simply put, the customer is unhappy and unsatisfied. There’s a reason why the quote “The customer is always right” exists.
So whether the comment left is correct or not, the best way to reply is by starting your response with an apology. But of course, not just any generic, template apology. It is important to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and state it coming from a place of empathy.
Keep your message as professional but still as sincere as possible. Admit the error done on your part. You can also opt to add an explanation if deemed necessary.
4. Take Responsibility and Action
Sometimes, simply saying sorry is not enough. You can provide compensations such as discounts, free gifts, or a priority for their next visit. Repeat customers are important in every business, and gaining their trust back is a crucial step.
Also, going the extra mile by taking responsibility for the situation can be greatly appreciated by the customer. You can consider offering to handle the negative review offline by asking the customer to get in contact with you so that you can address the concern and investigate further.
A Final Word About Handling Negative Reviews
Negative reviews can really be discouraging, but on a grander scale, they aren’t inherently bad. They make your business more authentic to customers. Once handled well, it can build a reputation of a brand or business that takes a customer’s concern seriously.
Keep in mind these tips once you encounter a negative review and use it to your advantage to improve your business’s well-being.