Picture this, you finally get your business off the ground, the neighbourhood has embraced your business and you’re starting to see green in your accounting books. Everything is going well and then it happens – a bad review. Maybe you find it yourself or maybe a coworker sends a screenshot to you, either way it can leave a raw feeling in the pit of your stomach and all your hard work feels like it just unraveled. Your first thought might be to go into full defense mode and write a paragraph defending your business; maybe you don’t even recognize this person and think it’s a false review from a competitor, maybe you want to delete it. No fear! We have come up with a step by step guide on how to handle a negative review.
1. Take a few breaths before addressing their complaint but respond promptly
After reading the comment don’t respond until you have taken the emotion out of your initial reaction. A negative or poor review can seem like an attack on your hard work, but don’t take it personally. You’re still doing good things and will continue to do so. Write a short response that indicates you’re aware they are not satisfied, you would be happy to discuss further and leave your contact information.
Some general tips when crafting a response are:
- Be professional and courteous;
- Address the specific issue (tactfully);
- Express how client satisfaction and feedback is important; and
- Offer additional assistance to resolve the customers issue.
Be sure not to:
- Make excuses for the issue;
- Blame the client;
- Use an angry or negative tone;
- Get too personal; or
- Reveal sensitive information.
2. When they contact you
When you’re speaking with the customer over email, on the phone or in person, make sure to let them know you appreciate them taking the time to talk to you, and appreciate their feedback. Make sure to ask for details so that you can go back and talk to staff if need be, or make other adjustments. You could potentially offer a coupon for something complimentary or a discount. Always wait to hear what the customer has to say before offering it.
3. They don’t respond or they leave another negative comment
If they don’t respond keep doing what you’re doing and let the business speak for itself. Before long, positive comments will outweigh the one bad one. If they leave another negative review, try and contact them directly. Do not post a rebuttal online.
It looks professional to the online community to see that you invited the customer to come up with a solution.
With all of this being said, when was the last time you left a positive review after receiving exceptional customer service or being blown away by a new product? Some food thought.