If you have a business – particularly one that deals directly with consumers – reviews are an increasingly important tool for growing your business. With more review sites and an increasing number of reviewers, the chance you’ll get negative reviews is also higher than ever. But, that’s OK. It’s not the review, but how you deal with it that is important. If you have no negative reviews then the modern internet-savvy consumer will likely suspect something is wrong.
So, what do you do when you get a negative review? There are some quick and easy things you can do that may turn a negative review in to a positive business outcome. It also shows that you take complaints seriously, rather than dismissing them.
1. Take responsibility – saying sorry is key. It demonstrates that your business cares about negative feedback and shows that you take their complaint seriously. Explain that you want to find out what went wrong and take steps to remedy the situation.
2. Take it offline – ask for contact details so that you can contact the customer. Reassure them that you are concerned about the problem they experienced and want to see what you can do to address it. Asking for contact details also enables you to take the discussion offline, rather than having it in a public forum.
3. Find out what went wrong – without the facts you can’t stop it happening again and set yourself up for more negative reviews. Talk with your customer and staff to understand what the truth is and what, if anything, went wrong.
4. Follow up – often all a customer wants is to know that you take their complaint seriously. Calling them to explain what you found out and, where possible, taking responsibility for the problem they experienced shows you care and demonstrates that you are doing everything you can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
5. Avoid a repeat – – the saying, ‘the customer is always right’ is an important one. Whether they are, or are not – they need to feel like their concerns have been taken seriously. Whether you feel their complaint is valid or not, offer them some sort of goodwill gesture – a voucher off of a future meal, or a replacement product. It’ll be cheaper than the damage caused to your reputation.
Wherever possible take personal responsibility for making sure their experience is one to remember, for all the right reasons.
There will always be customers that are unsatisfied, but by adopting this approach you’ll be able to demonstrate that you’ve done everything you can to address the complaint and fix it.
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