While people used to find businesses by recommendations or reviews in print, today it’s as simple as clicking one of the many review sites online. According to Social Media Today, 87 percent of people say that they require a business to have between three to five stars online before they will use their services. Here are five ways to respond to negative feedback, and why it’s a necessity and not a choice.
Check Your Ego and Demonstrate Customer Service
An essential part of checking your ego is to demonstrate your business’s commitment to customer service. The key takeaway is not to be defensive. PR News Online strongly recommends doing some research before responding to a negative review. This might include trying to determine whether it’s someone who’s had trouble in the past, or if there seems to be a pattern of recurring problems reported by other customers. While an apology for a disappointing experience is appreciated by most people, resolving the issue is what will inspire confidence in any potential customers.
Don’t Let Negative Assumptions Rule
It’s guaranteed that if you don’t respond to a negative review, then anyone reading it will assume the worst. Businesses have to earn the trust of their customers. This is an essential aspect of building a trustworthy brand, which leads to loyal customers who believe they’ll get the best products and services by choosing your company. Therefore, silence is not golden in this case. If you see a negative review, address it and be as transparent as possible.
Negative Feedback Leads to Lowered Morale
It’s surprisingly frequent that a customer will give your business a bad review, but possibly name a single staff person who did an outstanding job. The best way to spin this to your advantage is to reply with praise for the staff, but also rectify or explain the problem that the customer had, according to Review Trackers. The opposite can happen, though, if you don’t address negative feedback that makes the entire staff look bad. This scenario can impact employee morale substantially.
Social Media Platforms Matter
There are review sites dedicated solely to customer feedback and ratings, but then there are also platforms like Facebook and Twitter. By posting on a business’s Facebook page or tagging a Twitter account with a complaint, the information is immediately visible. Damage control on social media is especially important since it happens so quickly. If your business has a Twitter account and connects with customers this way, make sure you’re ready to respond almost instantaneously.
Considering Locality When You Respond to Negative Feedback
There’s a difference between replying to a local negative review versus one with customers from all over the world. For example, a hotel may field a huge amount of reviews from travelers coming from varied places. On the other hand, tactics for addressing negative reviews for local businesses that are much more community-based, where word of mouth does actually travel, should be handled carefully. A more personalized response, with the name of the business representative or invitation for the disgruntled customer to contact the company, can go a long way.
Negative reviews are a fact of life. Even if you exceed expectations at every turn, there’s always going to be someone who’s disappointed. By handling online reviews directly, graciously, and transparently, it’s possible to turn them to your advantage.
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