A bad review on a site like Yelp, Angie’s List, or even on Facebook can do more than just hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are being attacked – it can also impact the way customers feel about your brand. The way you respond to a negative review and even your response time will significantly affect how prospects perceive your business. Taking the right approach can help you thwart a bad review or negative feedback in the first place or minimize its impact on your business.
Approaching feedback as a learning and customer service opportunity can help you look at it objectively and ensure you strike the right tone with both the specific customer with the grievance and anyone else reading the review.
Consumers are faster than ever when it comes to sharing an unhappy experience online. From the coffee customer unhappy with the amount of whipped cream on their latte to the bride unhappy with her wedding flowers, social media makes it easier than ever to share the less than stellar experience with others. Social media also makes it possible for the grievance or negative feedback to reach more people. An unhappy customer may tell one or two friends in person what happened, or blow off steam talking to someone on the phone; those few connections will be the only ones to hear about the experience. That same unhappy customer posting on Facebook or Twitter can reach hundreds or thousands of friends in an instant. Stopping the process before it gets to that point – or handling it well once you spot the issue – is the key to a good outcome for your business.
Don’t Get Angry
It’s very easy to feel attacked or to be defensive when a customer leaves poor or negative feedback, particularly if it is unfair or partially the customer’s fault. Avoid responding in anger or if you are stressed out. You’ll be more likely to post a positive and beneficial response if you are able to stay calm and maintain objectivity as you work through the issue. If you feel angry, wait to contact the customer until you are past the initial reaction.
Respond to the Customer
Don’t let the bad review just sit there – respond and acknowledge the customer, who took the time to provide feedback in the first place. If you were in the wrong, a fast apology and explanation of how you have or will solve the problem will go a long way towards building trust with your prospects and mending the relationship with this specific customer. Even if the customer was in the wrong, politely explaining what happened or why they had the outcome they did may help bolster the trust others have in you. Responding ensures that other prospects who read the review see that you care and that you tried to resolve the issue promptly and professionally.
Take the Dispute and Conversation Offline
If possible, take the specific details offline as quickly as possible. A private conversation with the customer can allow you to get insight into their problem and come up with a resolution. Working this out on your public page simply won’t allow you to take a personalized approach and could even encourage others to leave a poor review in the hope of receiving some kind of reward or compensation. Once you come to a resolution, you can ask the user to remove or change their review or even add a note to your response that you resolved the complaint or solved the problem.
Listen to the Problem
You need to understand what the problem is to solve it. Listen to your customers and get real-time feedback right after purchase with a mobile survey app. By giving customers the chance to respond right away, you get their opinion while the experience is still fresh – and you can also intercede before a bad review ends up elsewhere online. A good survey app can be set to trigger an alert when a negative review is received, and give you the opportunity to listen to your customer and solve their problem in real time.
Reviews of any type give you valuable feedback about what your customer is thinking and feeling about your brand and the way you respond gives other prospects a chance to see how you do business. Gauging customer response and feeling via a real-time survey app can give you the insight you need to improve your process and make sure that the reviews that are publicly shared are likely to be positive ones.
Also published on Medium.