Negative reviews can surprise, anger, and confuse in one fell swoop. How would you respond if someone spoke about you or your business like that in person? Word of mouth is no longer spoken, it’s typed behind the safety of a computer screen. So how do you respond and furthermore, how do you actually make a negative review work FOR your business?
Take a Deep Breath
A negative review of your business feels like someone is going after your baby and it’s hard not to take it personally. It’s easy to get flustered and we completely understand. But, before you even think about responding I implore you to step away, take a deep breath, and remember these 3 things:
- Your response isn’t simply reaching this one customer. You’re speaking to every person who reads the negative review, including potential future customers.
- This is your opportunity for a second chance!. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would address it and try to make it right, correct? The same goes for online reviews—despite the impersonal nature of online reviews, it’s not over just yet. You can turn this thing around!
- It shows other readers that you and your business aren’t shady, defensive, or neglectful to feedback, and have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next customer.
Face It Head On
Timeliness is key when it comes to negative reviews. Statistically, if addressed within 24 hours of being posted it is 33% more likely that the negative reviewer will update, upgrade, or even post a new review referencing the impressive way their concerns were addressed.
Once you’ve put your emotions aside and have your whits about you – here’s how to address it:
- Apologize and sympathize – Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they are unfounded, show sympathy that they had a bad experience. “I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience.”
- Squeeze in a little marketing – Explain what your customers usually experience. “We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”
- Move the conversation out of the public eye – Provide contact info with someone at the business so they can discuss the problem in person. “My name is [name] and I am the [Owner / Manager]. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me at [phone number / email].”
- Make it short and sweet – Don’t go into too much detail or ask any questions. This will prevent saying something that might cause the upset customer to add more negative feedback by replying to the review. Three sentences for your whole reply is a good rule of thumb.
- Let it go! You’ve done the right thing and all that you can do so now it’s time to just release it.
An Example response:
We would like to sincerely apologize for your not so great experience with us last Saturday. We have a high standard of service for our company and your experience should never have been the exception. We’d appreciate the opportunity to hear more about this and to try to make it right. If you would be willing to discuss further please give us a call at (XXX)XXX-XXXX. Thanks so much for your feedback; have a great day!
Try to keep in mind that you can’t please 100% of people 100% of the time and you can’t control how people respond. You can only control how you respond. Look at it as an opportunity to show off the company’s excellent customer service and keep on truckin!
Why Respond to Positive Reviews?
A positive review is a gift! You wouldn’t receive a gift without saying thank you, would you? If every negative review is a second chance to earn a customer’s business back then, every positive review is an opportunity to squeeze in some extra marketing and earn a repeat, loyal customer.
Here are a few basics to include in your response to positive reviews:
How to Respond to Positive Reviews or Comments –
When you have something to add: These live on your page for other people looking at your reviews to see so why not take this opportunity to market your business further?
Try to give them a little Lagniappe! If a reviewer references a part of your process that they loved, tie in a reference to something else unique about your customer service in your response.
When you have nothing to add: This is kind of a trick bullet point as you should always have something to add!
As we mentioned positive reviews are a gift and this person is saving you marketing dollars!
Private message or email review: If you don’t have a well worded response at the ready, a canned response is fine in a private message or email scenario.
It won’t be publicly advertised that you’re just copying and pasting responses to people – part of making your customers feel valued is responding in a new and different way to each one. Responses in messenger or email don’t always need this touch.
The formula for responding to a positive comment or review is this:
Start with thanking them + try to offer something else they may enjoy from your company + end with another thank you = One happy customer!
You Don’t Have to Do it Alone
We understand this evolution of “word of mouth” can be confusing and frustrating but, you don’t have to do it alone!
If you’d like to talk about how to best market your upscale business with other like-minded business owners, become a member of our Successfully Marketing an Upscale Business Facebook Group. It’s free! Click here to request to join.