Reviews have quickly become a central factor in the online buying experience. Consumers have grown accustomed to checking out reviews across the popular sites, while most e-commerce stores allow user ratings and reviews on product pages. Even local businesses have to consider reviews. The rise in mobile usage has led to people checking out ratings while they are in close proximity to a physical location.
In many cases, though, not all responses will be positive. Even if negative reviews are largely undeserved, they will inevitably appear across a range of sites. How a business deals with these negative reviews can play a big part in their perception among consumers. So what is the best approach to take when your business receives a bad review?
Make an Internal Assessment
Bad reviews are not all the same, so they will require different approaches. It is important that people don’t get too emotional or invested in an interaction, focusing on resolving any issues first. Making an internal assessment is an effective way of deciding how important the review is. Some reviews have little to do with your business, products, or customer service, making it impossible to resolve in any meaningful way. A quick assessment lets you categorize the review and create an appropriate response.
Reviews can often be left in the heat of the moment, making them more extreme than the experience demanded. A customer might feel ignored, and a simple discussion can completely change the interaction. Responding quickly is vital as it can prevent issues from escalating, showing a willingness to engage with the customer. Other potential customers might take note of your public response, so you need to consider how they might analyze the situation.
Take a Customer-Focused Approach
A customer-focused approach will put yourself in the shoes of the customer, empathizing with their situation. For example, a business selling software might know exactly how the product works. Some consumers, though, might struggle with the product and feel aggrieved. Try to consider how a customer might feel in this situation, possibly considering updating your helpdesk and offering a clearer guide. If one customer is not satisfied with an aspect of your business, it is worth being conscious that others may well be feeling the same.
Find a Solution
The ideal scenario when dealing with a negative review is to find a clear solution. How possible this outcome is will largely depend on the issue. Some customers may want an apology and a promise to review procedures for the future. Other occasions might require a refund or coupon code to show you value their business. Try to deal with the situation in private, though, avoiding too much public discussion on review sites.
Consider Potential Customers
Along with dealing with unhappy customers, it is important to think about potential customers looking through review sites. These people will be determining whether to spend their money with your business or to try a competitor. Most people will be understanding to an occasional bad review, but they will expect a much larger proportion of positive reviews and a professional attitude towards negative opinions. Look to deal with any reviews in a professional manner, while also encouraging clients to leave their own reviews. When you get into the habit of asking customers to leave reviews, you should get vastly more positive responses across the popular sites.
Negative reviews will happen to every business. Even if you offer stellar service, it is inevitable that some people will not be satisfied. Additionally, you may face issues with disgruntled competitors or trolls, leading to a potential public relations issue that needs to be addressed. Rather than getting too invested in the reviews, though, you should have a strategy you can employ when necessary. Using these methods allows you to focus on providing the best possible service and preventing any negative issues harming your reputation within the industry.