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How to deal with a negative review


From the Resene Trade blog

It would be nice if things always went according to plan, there were 50 hours in each day and enough time to get everything done on time regardless how short the lead time is. But inevitably something can and will go wrong and despite your best efforts, it's inevitable that you'll receive a negative review at some point. What matters is how you respond to it. Here are some tips on dealing with bad feedback.

Online reviews are a double-edged sword. While they can show potential customers just how great your business is, they also open you up to the potential of negative feedback. With 84 per cent of respondents to a Bright Local survey saying they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, the feedback your business is receiving can have a huge impact on the size of your customer base. That said, negative reviews are inevitable – you simply can't please everyone.

While you can't stop a customer leaving bad feedback, the way you deal with it can massively influence the way they and others see your business. How should you handle a bad review?

1. Stay calm

Often, negative reviews are unfair – the customer will portray their experience of your business in a completely different way to what actually happened. It's important to stay calm when this happens. As unfair as the review might be, it's not a good idea to start hitting back with equally vicious language – it'll only portray your business in an even worse light. So, when you see a bad review, take a few minutes to calm down and go back to it when your head is a bit clearer.

Go away, make a cup of tea and calm down before replying to a negative review!

2. Understand the customer's point of view

Try and see the event from the customer's perspective – what happened that could have made them feel this way?

Although you may see the review as incorrect, it's important to remember your customer probably thinks their complaint was completely legitimate. So try and see the event from their perspective – what happened that could have made them feel this way? Once you take the time to figure this out, your response will be much more understanding.

3. Investigate before responding

If the event happened while you weren't there, ask the employees who were on duty what happened. They'll be able to give you more information and help you to understand why the customer feels the way they do. Sometimes, competitors can try and post negative reviews. There are normally regulations surrounding this, so if you think a competitor has left a review, contact the site with evidence to back your case and ask if they can take it down. (This should be the only time you try to take a negative review down).

The way you respond to a negative review could make all the difference in how the customer views your business.

4. Respond both privately and publicly

On a lot of review sites you have the option of messaging the customer privately. This is important to get the facts straight, but you should also ensure you're leaving a response publicly, so other potential customers know what you've done to resolve the situation. In your response you should:

  • Thank them for using your services and for leaving feedback.
  • Apologise for what's happened, especially if their complaint is legitimate. Ensure you sound sincere.
  • Say what you're doing to resolve the issue – and potentially offer them a discount or another token of goodwill.
  • Always be polite.

5. See reviews as a chance to improve

Don't take every review personally. Instead, any bad reviews should be used as a chance to improve your service the next time around. Think about it as genuine market research without having to pay for any expensive surveys. If you receive a legitimate complaint, ensure you fix the problem so it doesn't happen again – your business will be all the stronger for it.

6. Encourage positive reviews

If you have 20 positive reviews and only one bad one, your star rating won't be affected very much. So it's important to ask your customers to leave reviews after you finish the jobs you're on. It's a good idea to give them a flyer with your website and social media pages on it so they know where to review you. The more positive reviews you have, the less a negative review will matter.

March 2018


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