Sometimes, all it takes are a few negative review to deter customers from choosing your business. While negative reviews can break your business, they can also be a chance for you to shine. Responding to negative reviews, ideally within 24 hours, shows customers that you care and that you’re committed to providing exceptional service. In fact, 98% of respondents in a Kissmetric study said that customer experience was among the top three factors in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
So what are some ways to respond to negative reviews and further provide value to your customers? Below are six tips to help you out.
– 1. Address the issue and offer a complimentary solution.
It’s tempting to feel defensive when reading negative reviews. Although customers may say something about your brand that’s hurtful and untrue, arguing and attempting to prove them wrong will only further upset them. Instead, listen to their concerns and offer a solution. In fact, this is a great opportunity to turn a negative experience into something that’s positive and memorable.
For instance, when a customer complains about how awful your food tastes, not only offer them a free meal, but also invite them to visit again with their friends so you can show them the best your restaurant has to offer. You might think you’re losing out on profit this way, but this will pay off in the long run: Customers will have a nice story to share with their friends and families, and they’ll likely continue to do business with you.
Often times, businesses fail to address the heart of the issue and, instead, gloss over it with an inadequate response. For instance, many people still can’t forget United Airline’s PR crisis, in which a passenger had been violently dragged off one of their planes. Instead of acknowledging the injuries the passenger sustained, the CEO apologized for the overbook situation and then blamed the victim for forcing United’s hand—creating further outcry on social media.
– 2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
You may not even know you’re failing to meet an expectation your customer has if you don’t ask for feedback. People often leave negative comments without further elaborating. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper and ask them, specifically, what is it about your service that they’re having troubles with and how can you improve. Maybe they think your service is too slow or your competitors offer a better value. Ask! You’ll be surprised.
– 3. Filter low-quality and inappropriate reviews.
While it’s important to respond to reviews, you should also beware of trolls and frequent complainers. These are the reviews that aren’t worth responding to. Some people use review sites as a place to vent their frustrations, regardless of the business and its services. Not only is responding to these reviews a waste of time and energy, it can also lead to more trouble because some people simply can’t be reasoned with. Furthermore, if the review is false or inappropriate, you can also request to have them removed.
Alternatively, some sassy social media teams use humour to combat silly and inappropriate comments, such as Wendy’s. In fact, many of its tweets have gone viral and have done wonders for its PR.
However, be careful if you choose this path. Responding inappropriately could severely damage your brand. You should also you language that aligns with your branding.
– 4. Show discretion by asking reviewers to respond privately.
In some cases, such as customer comments on Facebook and Twitter, you may want to respond privately to them. Reach out to the reviewer by responding to their post and asking them to send you a private message. Or send them a private message directly. Facebook introduced a feature where admins can directly reply to comments with a private message. When messaging them, be sure to introduce yourself and thank your customers for their feedback. Here’s a sample template:
Hi [Customer Name],
This is [Your Name], the [Your Job Title] from [Your Business]. Thank you for leaving your feedback on our Facebook Page. We’re sorry to hear that your experience with us wasn’t satisfying—and we want to make things better. Could you provide more details on the issue you were having? (Or rephrase the problem they were having.)
Please let us know on how we could be of further service. (Or make your recommendations, such as offering them a discount or partial refund.)
Some people may prefer to be contacted through email or phone. You could also request for them to leave their other contact information if they prefer to be reached this way.
– 5. Monitor reviews and messages in real-time.
75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent. Not responding to your customers’ queries and concerns could mean lost opportunities. It may require a lot of resources to monitor reviews in real-time, that’s why many businesses go with a digital agency or an SEO agency to help monitor comments and reviews and provide personalized messages. Other businesses resort to using a social or service chatbot on their website and social media to respond to basic queries right away.
– 6. Ask for more reviews
Drown out the negative reviews with positive reviews. So give customers a good reason to write a positive review by offering exceptional customer services. Build good rapport with customers on a personal level, and ask if they can return a favour with an honest review. Also, suggest relevant review sites depending on the type of business. For instance, if you’re a restaurant or a services business, consider asking for reviews on Google, Yelp and YellowPages. Or if you’re a B2B service business, consider requesting reviews on FeaturedCustomers.
As you can see, negative reviews aren’t all that bad. By looking at it as an opportunity to improve and provide even better service, you’ll drive more business to your door online.