It’s a fact that in today’s world, negative online reviews can make or break a business. Today's consumers are judge, jury, and in some cases, executioner.
And many businesses – 75% of them, in fact – don’t take the time to respond to any reviews, positive or negative.
How you respond to unhappy clients indicates to prospects how they’ll be treated when working with your business. This provides an opportunity to boost your revenues and conversion rates and nurture goodwill with your customers.
Following is the framework you’ll want to employ when responding to negative feedback.
1. Make it personal. Some review sites require that you enter your name, while others allow aliases. This shows the reviewer (and other visitors who are lurking in the wings) that you’re speaking directly to them. It confirms that you’re not copying and pasting words from another source or posting a standard reply.
2. Say thanks. Thanking someone for a negative review creates an emotional safety net with both reviewers and lurkers alike. It sends a message of gratitude that they’re sharing information that you deem to be valuable. And while this is easy to do, in many cases it can be difficult psychologically. Though this type of review can be embarrassing and extremely damaging to the business, someone from the business taking the time to thank the person writing the review for their feedback can go a long way.
3. Acknowledge that a problem exists. Whether you agree with the reviewer’s perspective or not, they expect you to address the reason that they’re writing the negative review. This shows you understand, and when used appropriately, it puts you both on the same side, preparing to attack the problem as a team.
4. Apologize and show compassion: Apologize to the reviewer and substantiate their feelings. While you don’t have to give them exactly what they’re asking for in every case, at the very least, you need to exhibit understanding and compassion. Clients are expecting you to apologize and take ownership of what they believe to be a mistake. How you do that will depend on what they actually said in their review. In some cases, customers will provide clues about the type of apology they’re expecting. What’s angering about the typical apologies customers receive is the fact that they really aren’t apologies at all, so make yours feel real.
5. If possible, offer up a solution. Attempt to right the wrong, which can mean taking responsibility for a mix-up or reimbursing them if they were wronged. Whenever possible, present clients with solutions to their problems, even if you believe they are at fault.
6. Discuss the situation in a non-public setting. Ensure the reviewer that they’ll get the help they need with a personal communication such as an email or even a phone call. Some clients are under the impression that businesses want to take the conversation offline to avoid bad press or shame, but many problems can’t be resolved in one electronic response. Provide them with contact information for a team member to provide a personal one-on-one encounter.
Example: “If you’d like to discuss this in more detail, please call us at (888) XXX-XXXX and ask to speak with [contact name], our [job title]. We’d greatly appreciate the opportunity to make things right and work toward earning back your business.”
Regardless of the situation, it’s crucial for you to know when a negative review has been published about your business. Review monitoring is the first step in managing your reviews. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know you have one. And when/if you do receive an alert, you need to have a plan of action in place for responding to any negative reviews.
gFour Marketing’s Authentic Feedback program is the easiest way to get more 5-star reviews and expertly manage your online reputation before a small problem turns into a larger one. It accomplishes this by alerting you right away when a negative review is received.
Request a demo of Authentic Feedback today and find out how to get more 5-star reviews on the sites that will help you produce more leads, more sales, and more profits! Then contact us for more information at (305) 856-8788.
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