Five steps For Dealing With Negative Reviews Online
In the past, customers who complained about a business would make the complaint in person, and normally someone would be dispatched to help them to resolve it. If they were unable to find a solution, the customer would tell their friends and family and promise never to visit the business again.
These days, with social media, TripAdvisor and Google a bad review has a much longer shelf life and graver consequences if left ignored.
It’s never been easier to fire off a bad review on a brand’s social media page. Once the post button is clicked, the review stays online forever, and thanks to the ease of sharing content online it can become viral in hours, given the right circumstances. So how can today’s modern business deal with bad reviews?
Step 1: Acknowledge the review
Although your first impulse might be to delete the review, this is the worst thing you can do. Your priority should be to acknowledge it, even if you can’t attend to it immediately. A fast response rate will, at the very least, show that you are attentive to your customers’’ needs.
Step 2: Be polite and friendly
It’s challenging to see someone attacking something you’ve worked hard on, or criticising your product or service. Starting an argument online will only reflect badly on you, so make sure to always respond politely and respectfully, as you never know what the situation might lead to.
Step 3: Cover your bases
Find out everything that you can about the reviewer’s complaints, and investigate it thoroughly to find out if the situation occurred as the customer said it had, and if your business was in any way responsible so that you can make steps to improve your customer experience.
Step 4: Explain the situation
Always apologise but if your business was at fault, make an unreserved apology without excuses, and ask how they’d like to resolve the situation. It can be a good idea to communicate directly with the disgruntled customer after issuing an apology, with their permission, of course. You’ll find in most cases that a refund, exchange or other compensation should be sufficient to make things right again. If your business wasn’t to blame, it is ok to politely explain this and ask if there’s any other way you can help but be warned often this just gets someones back up and can make the situation worse.
Step 5: Follow up
Follow up on the review to ensure that the customer has received a satisfactory resolution to the issue. In many instances, they’ll remove their bad review of their own accord, or update it accordingly to put your business in a more positive light.
There’s no magical way to prevent bad reviews from occurring, but following these steps should help any existing ones get resolved quickly.
Need more positive reviews? Read our post here on how to ask your customers for Google reviews.
Need help managing your brand’s reputation online? Contact us to see how we can help.
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