In 2016, a restaurant in Denver gained media attention and a lot of heat because the owner failed to respond properly to a negative review he received on Yelp.
When an elderly customer complained about the lack of decaf coffee, owner, Mark Neary, responded by swearing at the woman. He accused her of trying to use her age to receive special treatment!
Mark’s case is a perfect example of how not to respond to negative reviews. Online reviews are important to any business. Reviews can significantly impact the behaviour of your (potential) customers and your brand image.
The goal of any business is to get positive reviews. However, you’ll probably encounter a few negative reviews because there are always very few customers that won’t be satisfied with your service.
The good news is negative reviews aren’t the end of the world (or your business)! What’s important is how you handle it. Let’s teach you how to handle them like a pro.
When you get a negative review, your first instinct is probably to jump in to defend yourself. Before you start typing, you should follow the steps below:
● Take a deep breath and try not to allow it affect you personally
● Look for the customer order in your system
● Determine the root of the problem
● Try and respond as quickly as possible
Now that you have all the customer information, you are ready to write a response to your review. Here are a few ideas that’ll help you handle the negative review better.
1. Be Professional, but sympathetic
You want to approach the response in a manner that reflects adequately on your business. Use a tone that makes your customer feel heard, valued, and understood.
2.Address the reviewer by name (if possible)
In today’s world, personalization is key in most areas of marketing and customer service. Using the reviewer’s name in response adds a personal touch. It also makes the customer feel like a human and not just a sale.
An apology can go a long way in making things right. It doesn’t matter if you think you are right or not. Apologize for the inconvenience, the misunderstanding, or because you messed up. An apology also shows customers that you care about the experience they receive.
4. Don’t be accusatory or defensive
Recall the story of Mark, and how it backfired? Learn from it. When you respond aggressively or defensively, it looks bad, and you may end up losing your business.
5. Go straight to the point.
Keep your response brief. It prevents a defensive response. Your main objective is to let the customer (and future customers) know you want to improve their user experience.
6. Take the discussion offline
The best-case scenario is you successfully resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction. But this can involve several rounds of communication, and the internet doesn’t need to see all of that.
Like we mentioned earlier, everyone makes mistakes, what matters is how you handle it. Now, go and be a pro!