6 tips for dealing with negative reviews online
Nearly nine in ten people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Which means as a business owner, the last thing you want is for any customers to leave negative reviews.
Unfortunately the chances are that every now and then you’ll get a bad write up online - especially given another study found 46% of people have used social media to complain about a business.
So, whether it’s a one-star (or less!) Google review or an unkind visitor post on your Facebook page, try these top tips for limiting any potential damage.
1. Respond quickly - and politely
While seeing a bad review can make your heart sink, don’t be tempted to try and ignore it. Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google Reviews all allow you to respond to reviews so tackle it head on by asking whoever left the review to contact you so you can investigate their complaint further. And while the temptation can be to tell your critic exactly what you think, it’s important to stay calm and professional.
2. Take the conversation offline
You don’t want other customers reading all the details of the conversation between you and your unhappy customer. To avoid this, try and move the discussion offline as quickly as you can. Provide them with a phone number or email address so that you can talk with them directly.
Try something along the lines of, “I am sorry to hear of your recent bad experience. We strive to offer the best possible service; it seems we fell short of your expectations on this occasion. Please contact me directly so I can look into this for you and find out what happened.
3. Explain any misunderstandings
Customers often complain when they feel they were overcharged for a basic service - without realising that they had actually opted for a more expensive service. In these cases, explain this in your response but do so in a friendly way. Sometimes it might be worth offering to refund the difference as a one-off gesture of goodwill.
4. Own up and rectify mistakes
No business is above reproach. If you or a member of your team did slip up, the best thing to do is to own up to it. Denying it is just likely to make the unsatisfied customer leave more bad reviews which could really damage your business. Whether it's offering them a free service or simply giving them their money back, the cost of doing so could still be less than the amount of lost business caused by a bad review.