Bad reviews can unfortunately be a sad reality of doing business today. Consumer expectations have become elevated due to social media and the immediate ability to share and collect information about customer experiences. Although you do a tremendous job of caring for your customers, sometimes a customer will feel their experience wasn’t what they expected. Inevitably, they will take their experience public.
Companies have a bad habit of blaming the customer in most instances, which only makes the situation worse. Consider that many consumers today take to searching online reviews about a company before they even decide to interact with you, and you’ll quickly realize the importance of managing your reputation online.
4 Important Reasons to Manage Your Online Reviews
- As mentioned above, consumers are searching online reviews before engaging with a company. They’ll judge you by others’ experiences before giving you a chance.
- Online reviews typically show up when users Google search your company. You want to ensure they properly represent your business.
- You cannot delete online reviews–you have no choice but to handle them in some way. If you ignore them, you are stoking the potential fire.
- Likely the most important reason of all: if you respond properly to a negative review, you will not only show that existing customer you care about their experience, but you will show the viewing public how you handle the situation if/when something does go wrong. This builds trust, and trust is imperative to your business’ success.
How to Respond to a Bad Review
- Start by ensuring you are in a calm state when you type your response. You’ll need to keep all emotion out of it and only state facts.
- Acknowledge their frustration. Most of the time customers just need to be heard. Don’t judge or shame them for their opinions.
- Apologize where needed. Being sorry isn’t necessarily an admission of guilt; you can be sorry they didn’t enjoy their experience. That being said, if you are partially or fully to blame, you absolutely need to accept responsibility.
- Never post personal information online, including details of their experience, unless it is imperative to correcting the issue. As an example, if a customer is upset that your business didn’t complete a task they expected, you can explain your process without using details of their personal situation.
- Always attempt to diffuse the situation and take it offline. Don’t argue with the customer in your response. Simply offer to discuss further and include your phone number and/or email address. If the customer continues to post or edit their initial review, do not take it any further.
- If possible or applicable, offer to make it right. Doing this in public is valuable to potential customers to show that you are ultimately interested in ensuring your customers have a good experience. (If you’re worried customers will see this and try to expect the same, it doesn’t actually happen that often.)
Example of a Proper Response
This response is crafted to be relatively neutral. If your situation permits including some details about the situation, by all means go ahead as long as it doesn’t include personal information or potentially offensive information.
Hello, [name]. Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback. I am sorry that your experience wasn’t as you expected. We would like to work with you to correct the issue and improve our process if needed.
I’d like to discuss this matter further with you. If you’re comfortable, please reach out to us at [phone number] or [email address]. We’d love to make this right.
When crafting your response, do your best to be as authentic as possible, catering each response to the review that was left for your business. If you go with a canned response, other potential customers will see this and quickly judge your company as inauthentic and uncaring.