Bad reviews. They happen to the best of us. Sometimes a bad review is warranted, but in the modern age of the Internet, it is becoming increasingly easy for disgruntled customers to air any type of grievance online for the world to see. The trouble with a bad reviews is that people reading the reviews have little to no context for the complaint, and don’t have the opportunity to hear your side of the story. Regardless of the legitimacy of the complaint, the customer feels let down and they’ve lost their trust in your business. If the situation is not quickly and efficiently remedied, you may lose the customer’s business. Read the following tips to find out how to deal with bad reviews in a strategic and professional manner.
1. Nip it in the bud
The best way to deal with a bad review is to stop it in its tracks. Even if your team didn’t do anything wrong, when you have a disgruntled customer, do what you can (to a reasonable extent) to make things right. A customer might be blowing the issue out of proportion, but remember that no matter the severity (or lack of it), they invested their hard earned money in your product or service and are living with the resulting issues every day.
2. Appreciate the occasional bad review
You heard us right. The occasional bad review is something your company probably needs because it represents authenticity. All 100% perfect, 5 star reviews can almost come across as a little suspicious. Take a bad review and make it work for you. Think of it as an opportunity to improve. Once you get past the initial sting, analyze about what you and your team could have done to prevent the situation. Go a step above and beyond and offer to make it right for the customer who complained. This way you will only be making it better for the next client.
3. Don’t delete the review
If the review is posted on your website or social media page and you have the ability to delete the review, don’t! Deleting a poor review will only serve to fuel the fire. Only consider removing reviews that contain profanity or inappropriate content. Otherwise, even the unfair reviews should stay up. The best way to get a review removed is to do right by the customer and hopefully they will rethink and modify their original comments. If the situation is adequately reconciled they might find the power in their heart to remove the bad review.
4. Acknowledge the review and respond
This is not the time to defend; it is the time to deal. Whether you are right or not, most customers just want a resolution. Explaining your side of the story will only cause friction and create an argument of who is right. Express your apologies to the customer, explaining that you are sorry they are disappointed and you would like to make the situation better. Offer to reach out to them in private and begin the conflict resolution.
The bottom line is that bad reviews happen to everyone. Remember that the best use of bad reviews is as a means for improving your business. Make it a point to analyze your reviews (good and bad) and see where your strengths lie and what areas need improvement. If all your bad reviews concern delays and missed deadlines, timeliness might be something you want to focus on improving in the coming year. Choose to look at them as a performance review by your clients. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself on your good reviews and respond to them as well! If a client has taken the time to use the Internet as a way to express their satisfaction with your work to the world, it’s worth acknowledging and celebrating!