To reply or not to reply? That is the question many business owners contemplate when faced with bad online customer reviews. On the one hand, they feel that a response is needed to defend what they are so passionate about: their business. On the other hand, by responding they run the risk of doing more harm than good. What is the right course of action to take if you find yourself in this position? The answer is to reply, but to do so with caution. Below are some useful tips that can help you craft the right type of response to the wrong type of review!
Give Yourself Some Wait Time
When others write nasty or hurtful words about your business, it is hard, in fact almost impossible, to not take it personally. However, negative online reviews are about experiences customers have had, and not about you as a person. Once you come to terms with this, it is easier to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. You can then begin to analyze what went wrong and start thinking about how you can fix it.
Many times, problems can be solved with a genuine apology. The key word here is “genuine”. If a customer is unhappy, whatever the reasons, say you are sorry and mean it. Equally as important, keep the apology short and professional. If you ramble on, you come across as desperate as well as insincere. Online viewers may think you are willing to say anything to make your business look good, and as a result you lose credibility.
Correct the Problem
Do not give out freebies and discounts to those who give you bad reviews. This is like giving a child a band aid when they need stitches! A band aid never fixes the problem, it only masks it. A freebie may make the customer feel good in the short term, but if upon their return to your business, they receive the same bad service they originally complained about, your problem just got exponentially bigger! Instead, after reading the bad review, immediately set out to correct the problem. Make sure to let the reviewer know that action was taken to resolve the issue. By doing this, you come across as proactive and professional. That’s a lot better than coming across as someone who prefers to offer bribes, rather than ensuring quality experiences for their customers.
Say Thank You
Thank every customer that leaves a review of your business. If they left a review, be it positive or negative, it means that they spent their hard earned dollars in your store, restaurant, shop etc. So thank them for their business and more importantly, thank them for their feedback. Let it be known that constructive criticism is what helps a business to grow. This shows that you are a business owner who does not ignore problems, rather you are one who fixes them. Lastly, don’t look at bad reviews as obstacles, but instead view them as opportunities! Every mistake is a lesson learned and every lesson learned leads to success!
So the next time you find yourself at the receiving end of a stinging online review, take a deep breath, remember these tips, start typing and hit reply!