You’ve worked hard to build your business, one happy customer at a time. So, when a bad review comes along, protesting to the world that your business is lacking in some way, it can be very hurtful – and frightening. Poor online reviews can damage your reputation, costing you big time if they aren’t dealt with the right way. But, when handled well, you might be surprised to find that bad reviews can actually be a good thing. Read on to learn how.
Understand These Things Happen
First of all, the most important thing to keep in mind is that bad reviews happen to us all, no matter how much care you take to please your customers. Maybe the person who left the review was having a bad day, or maybe they’re just a difficult person – or maybe they had a valid point – one that can help you improve your business. Did you know that for every one bad review, there are 26 other unhappy customers who remain silent? When you keep that in mind, the following is a no-brainer…
Hear Them Out
The single most important thing you can do when dealing with negative reviews is to pay attention to what the complainant is saying. Even the most cautious and dedicated business professional is fallible, so it’s important to leave room for the human component – mistakes. Listening to the concerns of your customer makes them feel valued, and can even lead to a deeper relationship with that customer.
When dealing with angry customers, whether online or in person, it’s important to stay calm and respectful – no matter how difficult they might seem. Don’t use online comments as a sounding board for your own frustrations or defense, but instead respond kindly and see if there is anything you can do to solve the problem. If they bring up a valid complaint, do everything you can to rectify the situation, such as offering coupons or their money back. You might be surprised to find the complaint turn into praises of thanks for helping them get through a difficult problem.
Don’t Try to Remove the Ratings
Once you’ve heard the complaint and dealt with it appropriately, you might be tempted to have the review removed. Most of the time, this is impossible. But, there are instances when the remarks left are defamatory and unfair, and you might be able to dispute them. Especially if you can prove the comments came from one of your competitors. Otherwise, it’s best to let it lie and focus your efforts on getting more positive reviews.
Encourage More Reviews
If you have a few positive reviews and one bad, then that one bad review is a lot louder. But, one bad review in as sea of good won’t draw much attention. Drown out negative reviews with positive by encouraging customers to take online surveys. Place signs that promote participation in review sites, and link them to your business website. Just makes sure you never ask for positive reviews, but instead learn from mistakes of the past to build better customer relationships in the future.
Embrace the Experience
Customer reviews – especially the bad – can be a great way to grow your business. They allow you to fete out weak points, deal with problems creatively, and build better customer relationships. It’s completely normal to be upset when bad reviews happen, but when dealt with graciously and with an attitude that wants the best for your customers, bad reviews can be a great asset for powering your business to the top!