By Annabel Thomas
Negative online reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor, Google and Amazon can be detrimental to your businesses reputation and customer loyalty. 94% of customers have said that they have been put off a business after seeing negative reviews online. It can be hurtful to receive negative reviews, especially when you are the owner of a business that has put your blood sweat and tears into your company. It is natural to feel upset but remember mistakes happen and we are all human. Whether you are at fault or not it is important not to retaliate and instead take a step back so you can respond in a calm and professional way.
There is hope when it comes to negative reviews! 45% of customers say that if a business responds to negative reviews rather than ignoring them they are more likely to use the business. So how can you respond in a positive way to negative reviews?
After receiving a bad review, it is important to acknowledge your customers’ experience and feedback. Even if you don’t think they are right, begin by thanking them for bringing the issue to your attention and owning up to any mistakes you did make.
For example, “Hi *first name*, thank you so much for your feedback and letting us know about the issue with x’.
This sets the tone for taking your customers’ feedback seriously and shows you are understanding and care about what your customers think.
When it comes to poor feedback, prompt replies are key! Don’t leave a negative review festering online with no reply for weeks. Customers are much more likely to change their opinion of you if you can reply quickly to their feedback and offer a positive outcome to their situation. Prompt replies show you are a proactive company that takes feedback in its stride.
76% of customer reviews are left on Google or Facebook, and this means you will have access to the customers first name. Avoid copying generic replies to negative reviews with no personalisation. Writing ‘dear customer’ is never a good start if you know the first name. Take the time to personalise your response to each review!
It can also be a good idea to suggest that the customer DMs or emails you to resolve the issue. This way you can take the issue offline and save any further issues from coming up.
Own up to your mistakes and apologise for anything you did wrong. Showing you’re not too proud to own up to your mistakes is important, and your customers will respect you more for doing so. When you do apologise make sure to highlight the rarity of the incident. Provide an explanation if necessary but try not to make excuses and still own up to any mistakes that were made. For example:
‘We are so sorry about your experience with us today. We pride ourselves on high levels of customer service and your situation was an exception. We care deeply about what our customers think and will be taking the necessary steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again”
Reinforce how you will make changes going forward to ensure a similar experience isn’t had by customers. This shows you are proactive in making changes and that you listen carefully to customer feedback to enact real changes. It also can be a chance to show how you turn negatives into positives.
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