Yes? No? Not sure? Well, you should!

Online negative reviews can have adverse effects on your business. Even a single one can pull your listing down the customer review sites.

You know that consumers don’t usually click the “Next” button when they’re looking for a product or service.

Majority of the time, they rely on the ones on top of the list. If you’re not on page 1, that’s not a good thing.

But, you see, not everybody wants to eat the same burger. According to Lee Resource International, only 1 out of 27 customers who complain are inclined to leave or write a negative review.

Burger Review

And the rest? They remain silent, all 26 of them. And that 1 negative review should neither be ignored nor take up our precious time. There’s a right balance to handling this situation.

How?

By dealing with them head-on in a professional manner.

Below are 10 useful tips on how to deal with negative reviews in a professional manner that won’t harm the reputation of your business.

Listen

The first and most important thing you should do is to listen and let them finish with their piece.

Customers see your products/services as answers to their pains. They leave a negative review because they want to be heard, they have a message to tell, and they need you to solve their problem with your customer service and not really meddle with their life’s dilemmas.

Doing so can help you understand the situation better and come up with a reasonable and polite response. There’s no way you should overreact and counter the customer with a rude statement, even if they are rude.

Spot a fake review.

Some negative reviews are simply fake or non-compliant of the site’s Terms of Service. If it’s derogatory, defamatory or racist, consider talking to the customer review site and have it removed.

But know that 90% of the time, they don’t allow that. Your other options are to ignore or to respond.

“The fat waitress was being a bitch after I told her I didn’t like the tone of her voice when she took our orders. Bitches like her should be kicked out of the restaurant and be banned to wait forever!”

When it’s obvious that the reviewer was just whining like the example above, ignore and click “Not helpful”.

You can also reply and provide factual information to counter the review, either suggest to visit your company’s website to prove your claims or say outright that the review was an apparent fabrication.

Jerks gon’ stay jerks. Haters gon’ hate. You gotta keep calm and stop wasting time on them.

Breathe deeply but RESPOND PROMPTLY

Take a deep breath and compose yourself. This is applicable whether you are going to respond to a fake review or to a legit one. Do it before you respond but respond promptly.

Delays can intensify the displeasure of the customer and consequently aggravate the damage on your business. Put the fire out before it burns the building.

Respond politely and professionally

Be the bigger person! That’s why it’s important to breathe deeply first. Not only do you have to respond promptly but you have to maintain composure for the sake of you and your company’s reputation.

Respond privately and show empathy

Some reviews are not as harsh and you can respond to them in public. However, some likes to be treated like a baby. Then do it. Call them, email them, contact them through their social media linked to their review…reach out to them privately.

Once the resolution has been agreed, you can respond in public to state that it has been resolved. The customer may even want to edit his/her review or make another one stating it’s all good.

“Shakers and Co. has been very professional in dealing with my concern and even went out of their way to resolve the issue. I will stick with them and use their services again in the future. Thank you for your awesome customer service!”

Apologize and offer a solution

When you reach them, offer a solution and apologize even if you don’t think you or the company is at fault. It’s not the time to find faults. It’s time to take action.

As I’ve mentioned above, your products/services are meant to answer the pains of your customers. If they’re dissatisfied, you can still make them happy by offering a solution.

Do not take negative reviews personally

See them as opportunities and not a personal attack. They’re not really so bad.

They’re actually some sort of compass to give directions on how to provide a better service or improve your products.

By dealing with one unhappy customer and resolving the issue, you are allowing more satisfaction for the other customers.

Monitor all reviews

Use applications such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, TalkWalker, Reputology, Social Mention, Google Alerts, Review Trackers, etc. to monitor all reviews. That way, you can address them promptly.

There are many customer review sites. There’s Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, Foursquare, Angie’s List, Glassdoor , etc. The ones most helpful to you are those that are relevant to the industry you’re in.

Encourage Customers to Provide Reviews

Reviews are a good measure of which areas you should make improvements in.

Although it can be scary as you will have to deal with negative reviews, all reviews whether positive or negative, indicate that your company is active in the industry and is working towards giving a better product/service.

Also, more positive reviews can offset the impact of negative ones.

Share reviews with everyone in the team

Prevent the same problem to arise in the future by building a customer-centric mindset among your employees.

While we wish there wouldn’t be negative reviews, they happen. And when they do, that means there’s a message which you need to heed.

Especially if coming from a challenging customer, one who actually bought your product or availed your service and not just some random jerk who makes fake reviews.

How about you? Do you have personal experiences you can share that can be added to this list? Leave your comments below!

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