Navigating Negativity: How to Handle Bad Reviews
No business is perfect, and in today’s world of instant connectivity, your customers are ready and willing to share their opinions when you make a misstep. Social media makes it quick and easy for customers to share their opinions and experiences—good and bad—and that means negative online reviews are going to pop up from time to time.
Negative reviews are a natural part of doing business, but there are a few things you can do to help manage that negativity.
5 Tips for Diffusing the Negative
1. Keep Calm
While a negative review may feel like a personal attack, the truth is that it can be a great lesson learned. As motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “When customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it.” Why? Because a complaint is an opportunity to make a change.
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2. Speak Up
Ignoring a bad review might feel like the right move, but in most cases a timely response is a better plan of action. Responding to reviews helps establish an ongoing customer relationship, and shows that you’re dedicating to addressing problems.
3. Fix It
Managing negative reviews isn’t about getting the upper hand. It’s about providing the best possible customer experience, putting yourself in their shoes, and offering up a real solution. If you’ve really made a mistake, own it and fix it.
4. Be People-Centered
Don’t offer up canned responses. Take the time to write up a personalized answer that addresses the comment specifically. Keep it brief, and be open about any changes that might already be underway to solve the problem.
5. Ask for Help
While most reviewers are just trying to resolve negative customer experiences, it’s true that a small percentage of negative reviews come from trolling or fake accounts and are malicious in nature. Escalate potentially malicious reviews, especially if they contain untrue information, to the review site administrators or even your legal team for review.
Join the Conversation
Whether you decide to respond to a negative review, or report it, what matters most is that you’re regularly engaging in the conversation with your customers. When you publicly respond to reviews, you’re allowing your larger client base and potential customers to see your (honestly presented) side of things, and that you’re actively involved in improving the customer experience.
Let your customers feel heard, and respond in a way that offers some empathy. Try “Wow, I’d be upset too. I’m sorry,” or something like it to express that you can relate and offer an apology. And don’t forget the most important step.
Diagnose the Issue
When a problem stems from poorly delivered service, communication issues, or some other failing on your part, it’s your job to get to the bottom of it. Don’t lay blame, but focus on what happened and how you might be able to implement processes or procedures that keep it from happening again.
A quick, honest response to issues is your best line of defense, but a proactive approach is even better than a defense. Implement best practices, like the ones you’ll find in our Best Practices for Growing Your IT Services article for tips and tricks on retaining clients by providing value they can’t find anywhere else. This article outlines 5 best practices you can follow to create unparalleled value and be the IT champion your clients need.
To see more best practices, visit our resource center.