How to [Positively] Respond to Negative Reviews
Do you feel you can simply never win?
These days, the moment you start a business, you have a list of expectations to live up to. Without it, your company won’t grow. At the top of this list is building your public image. Reviews are exceptionally helpful, but they create a possibility you probably dread: Getting negative reviews. We all hate them. But you can be the person in your field that handles them correctly. They shouldn’t ruin your mood anymore.
Whether they happen online or are written and sent to your office, learn to respond positively. You’ll discover a new skill that will catapult you ahead of your competitors.
Never Ignore Them
You want to delete the review or throw away the paper, right? Don’t. What you do next determines the outcome.
You have two options:
- Fuel customers’ irritation by ignoring them.
- Extinguish clients’ fury by showing you heard them.
Which one is better? Perhaps everyone will forget about the complaint. But what if someone else has the same issue and complains too? Word will get around. You don’t want to be known as a company who doesn’t care for its clients. Studies show a story of bad customer service will be repeated twice as much as stories of your amazing products or prices. Can you risk that happening to you?
Take (Only) a Moment
Nobody wants critiques. And of course, you want to defend yourself. But this instinctive reaction may not be the best option. Save yourself future hassles by quickly gathering your thoughts:
- Take a deep breath to calm down.
- Ask someone else to also read the review. They may identify a different perspective you haven’t thought of.
- Have generic replies ready. Reply with one of them instead of writing one motivated by your emotions.
But don’t take too long before taking action. The promptness of your reply is just as important as its content.
Show You Care
There’s a bit of psychology you need to understand. Your customers are more concerned about being heard than actually getting the issue resolved. They want to feel cared for, and you show care, by simply replying. This is important because this is what makes customers return for more business. If you get known for caring you may benefit from the 40% of consumers that change service providers, simply to get better customer care. Yes, the right response can improve your revenue.
Why is this person complaining? Could it be that a person in your company or a product is really disappointing the public? Don’t lose customers because you think handing complaints is too much effort. You’re 50% more likely to sell your product to existing customers than to someone visiting you for the first time.
You don’t want to admit you’re wrong, but improving on customer service or products will only benefit you in the long run. And negative reviews are the best sources to find out where you need to make adjustments.
Surveys prove that for every 27 people who want to complain, only one actually does. Perhaps many other customers wish you would make a few adjustments. And when you do they’ll feel happier and spend more.
Now tell the customer what you’ve done. That’s what they’re after. And here are the benefits:
- Because you changed the situation the customer has no reason not to support you in the
- You showed you can make adjustments, so the customer will rather trust you than a competitor in future.
Because you made improvements you won’t get future complaints. Repeated negative reviews about a certain aspect are detrimental. But stories about solving problems are marketable.
Share the Experience
You probably feel like concealing the review. Do you wish you never added that plugin to your website? Yes, of course, it’s smart to filter all the traffic that appears on your site or social media pages. But consumers are smarter than you think. A squeaky clean reputation may seem too good to be true. When your feedback is dotted with critique, complaints, and inquiries, browsers know they’re seeing a true interpretation of your company’s abilities.
Counter your instincts and do this:
- Allow all online comments to be posted.
- Admit your responsibility—if applicable—and invite the person to talk to you in person.
Tip: Ask for contact details and call or email them yourself. 32% of consumers rate phones as the most frustrating tool to try and obtain assistance.
- Prevent a public debate by taking the discussion offline. You showed your concern and now you can handle it privately.
- Later on, ask the person online to confirm that it is resolved.
This progression shows other consumers that you don’t simply forget about complaints. Now they’ll trust you too. You can also benefit from the future support these interactions will bring. When you engage with social media, customers are 25% more inclined to be loyal in future and even recommend you to others.
When you get that final reply you can use it in your next advertising campaign. Remember, your branding is about selling your product but also showcasing your company’s values. Can you see how an apparent failure can help you in the long run? But it’s up to you whether you’ll optimize its potential.
Turn This into a Marketing Opportunity
Imagine you can show your exceptional customer service via a true story. Add quotes to your website content or make a video to post online. Proof that you care enough to resolve problems will draw other customers. Over 80% of consumers will be willing to pay higher prices if they know they’ll get good service. Prove to them you’re the company they’re looking for.
Yes, some of these tactics will take time and you have to practice this skill, but you’ll see an overnight change by simply preventing the following:
- At no point can you seem defensive or accuse the client.
- Don’t take it personally. It helps keep emotion out of the situation.
- Don’t blame a certain department or person in your company. Customers want results, not information about your company’s structure.
Why do you need this skill? Do you simply want to keep people happy and limit conflict? No. This is actually about your bottom line. When you engage and resolve problems your clients will spend up to 40% more than before. Is that enough motivation to give this a try?