The internet has made marketing easier than ever before. While this is obviously a very good development, the internet can make you lose customers if you don’t keep your eyes open. It only takes a few seconds for a dissatisfied customer to post a negative comment about your business, and that’s all it takes to dissuade thousands of people, if not tens of thousands, from purchasing your product or service.
In fact, according to some findings, 97% of buyers read online reviews before making a purchase and 94% are convinced not to patronize a business when they read a negative review.
This is why it is important to monitor your social media mentions, customer comments on your website, and reviews on several online forums and online market places. Once you spot a bad review, respond quickly and do so in a positive manner.
It’s not advisable to get upset and attack the person who made the negative comment, neither is it an option to ignore such a review. Ignoring a review would only make matters worse because some consumers will take it that the comment is probably true and you are too embarrassed to respond to it. It also suggests you don’t care about customer feedback. Note that 45% of buyers are more likely to make a purchase from a business that responds to negative reviews.
By the time you are done reading this article, you’ll be able to handle negative reviews effectively and keep your business in a good light.
How to respond to negative online reviews
Before we dive right into this, it is important to note that when you respond to negative comments about your business, what you say and how you say it matters a lot.
We will now present some useful tips on how to handle negative online reviews. When you observe them, you increase your chances of turning an unsatisfied customer into a happy one. The person might even go ahead to make another comment – A positive one and help you save face.
Keep your cool
When you spot a negative comment about your business, don’t be in a haste to reply. Take a deep breath and let the spur of the moment die down. You need to think things through before you leave a response. You also don’t want to sound defensive as that will only worsen the situation.
Read the review several times
This is so you’ll understand what made the individual leave the negative comment. Did they receive poor service? Did the product not meet their expectations? Or were they simply having a bad day? Some people leave bad reviews with malicious intent; solely to hurt the reputation of your business. Perhaps a disgruntled former employee or a competitor who doesn’t shy away from foul play. When you find out the reason, you’ll be better able to leave a suitable response.
Don’t take too long to respond
Ensure that you leave a response within 24-48 hours after the review was made. Customers leave online reviews because they expect a quick response. It so happens that very few people would rather reach a business through phone call since it takes too long for someone to answer or for their complaint or requests to be handled. Most people prefer using social media to get customer service and to voice their opinion because it attracts attention.
Therefore, replying promptly serves to give the customer a degree of satisfaction. It’s the first step towards retaining their trust and loyalty.
Keep your response short and polite
When responding to a negative review, try to keep things brief. The reply shouldn’t be more than 3-4 sentences.
Don’t try to prove your case and counter every point. It doesn’t matter how unfair the review is. If you do otherwise, you put yourself on the defensive and give weight to the complaint.
You don’t need to go into details or ask follow-up questions. This way, you avoid making statements that will aggravate an already upset customer, causing them to leave more comments and add further detail to the bad review.
While it’s necessary to set things straight with the individual, it’s even more important to consider the impact such a review and the response/ensuing conversations will have on other customers/prospects. Remember that people will keep coming across it. It will be read for weeks and months to come.
Therefore, you mustn’t let your emotions get the best of you. Keep your response short and professional.
Try to make things right
The ultimate aim of every business is customer satisfaction. You should, therefore, be greatly concerned when a customer leaves a negative review. Empathise with them and make them realise you are willing to resolve the issue they’ve complained about. Use phrases like “I understand” or “we apologize”. Make them feel their opinions are valid. This shows readers that you don’t take feedback for granted.
Contrast your company policy with the customer’s bad experience
Responding to a negative review is a good opportunity to showcase what your brand stands for. Show readers that the case at hand is an unfortunate deviation from the way your customers usually feel when they use your products/services.
For instance, you could say something like: “We regret the inconvenience you’ve had to endure. We always aim for the best experience for our customers, and we are known for making good on our promise to deliver. Please visit any of our branches closest to you. We’ll promptly rectify the issue”.
Establish contact offline
It’s not enough to leave a reply. Provide a contact address or phone number that the customer can call so you can continue the conversation offline. This shows you are genuinely concerned about their plight, and that you take customer service seriously. It also gives your business a face. People feel they can actually have a one-on-one encounter.
Customer feedback is something that should be encouraged and appreciated. It provides you with insight into how people view your business. It helps you recognize what you are doing right, so you can capitalize on them. It also reveals what you might be doing wrong. This way, you can make improvements and take a step towards customer delight.
Therefore, reviews, whether positive or negative, are a good thing. Imagine a situation where people don’t talk about your business or its products and services at all. It would mean you’re invisible and no one cares. You don’t meet any consumer needs.
Ensure you leave a response that puts your business in a good light and assures customers that their opinions matter. Make them realise you are willing to make things right. The response should be timely and straight to the point.
What tools do you use to monitor online reviews about your business? How do you manage dissatisfied customers?
Feel free to leave us a comment in the section below.
432,000 business applied for FG payroll support, 70,000 shortlisted
70,000 Nigerian businesses have been shortlisted for the Payroll Support of FG’s Survival Fund Grant Scheme.
70,000 businesses in Nigeria have been shortlisted from the 432,000 businesses that applied for the Payroll Support of the Federal Government’s Survival Fund Grant Scheme. Many states did not meet their quota and plans are ongoing to seek an extension after the portal closed 5 days ago.
Mr. Tola Johnson, the Project Coordinator of PDO and Special Assistant to the President on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), confirmed this to the DailyTrust.
Nairametrics had earlier reported plans by the FGN to roll out a N2.3 trillion stimulus package and survival fund for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to stay afloat amid the economic challenges imposed by the pandemic.
The survival fund includes payroll support for three months and a guaranteed off-take scheme among others, all under the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
What they are saying
Commenting on the latest development, Mr. Johnson said, “As at the day the portal closed to applicants for Payroll Support Scheme, we had 432,000 businesses that applied. However, we have shortlisted 70,000 that met the requirements. These businesses have uploaded over 400,000 staff for us to pay for three months.’’
Mr. Johnson pleaded for an extension, noting that though the portal closed on the 15th of October, 2020, many states did not meet their quota
“The Project Delivery Office, which I head, is taking this plea for an extension to the Steering Committee headed by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum.
“To know whether to extend the date for online application into the payroll support scheme will be based on the data available to us.’’
He concluded by emphasizing the need for BVN and digitalizing the process, noting that business owners will not be paid directly. Only their staff will be paid subject to the provision of BVN.
Why it matters
The support is a kind gesture by the FG, aimed at alleviating the impact of the pandemic on MSMEs. It is a way of averting massive job loss, creating income for the staff, and stimulating the economy, as the impact of MSMEs in developing the economy can not be overemphasized.
AGSMEIS: CBN expands beneficiaries to 14,638
The CBN has extended the number of beneficiaries under the AGSMEIS to 14,638 applicants.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has extended the number of beneficiaries under the Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) Loans to 14,638 applicants.
This information is contained in a communique from the last MPC report of CBN verified by Nairametrics. The communique also revealed that 250 SME businesses, predominantly the youths, have also benefited from the Creative Industry Financing Initiative.
In addition to these initiatives, the CBN is set to contribute over N1.8 trillion of the total sum of N2.30 trillion needed for the Federal Government’s 1-year Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), through its various financing interventions using the channels of Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs).
A few months ago, the CBN announced that it has unveiled a framework that will integrate a non-interest window in all its intervention programmes aimed at supporting businesses and households that have been impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nairametrics had earlier reported on how to access the AGSMEIS fund.
Why it matters
Given the impact and accompanying harsh consequences of the pandemic, coupled with the present regime’s focus on diversification of the economy, this intervention is therefore aimed at achieving the diversification goal, reflating the economy, creating more jobs and income, managing inflation, and setting the economy on the path of recovery.
CBN in the latest communique of its last MPC meetings also revealed that it has disbursed a total of N3.5 trillion in interventions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as of September 22, 2020. The breakdown of the disbursement includes:
- Real Sector Funds: N216.87 billion
- Targeted Credit Facility: N73.69 billion
- AGSMEIS: N54.66 billion
- Pharmaceutical and Health Care Support Fund: N44.47 billion
- Creative Industry Financing Initiative: N2.93 billion
In terms of project distribution, a total of 128 projects that comprises 87 real sector funds project and 41 health-related projects have been funded. In like manner, about 120,074 have received funding under the Targeted Credit Facility.
N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund to be rolled out before end of October – Minister
Youths are expected to come up with brilliant ideas that will enable them to access between N250,000 and N50 million each.
The N75 billion worth Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) will be rolled out before the end of October 2020. This was disclosed by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, in a statement on Wednesday, according to NAN.
The statement, which was issued by the Minister’s Assistant Chief Information Officer, Olatunji John, explained that the ministry challenged youths to come up with brilliant ideas that would enable them to access between N250,000 and N50 million of the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund for sustainability.
He stated, “The programme is about to be rolled out before the end of this month. President Muhammadu Buhari approved N75 billion in three years because he believes in the dream of youths, aimed at lifting 10 million Nigerians, including youths out of poverty before 2023.”
What you must possess
While urging the youths to take advantage of the opportunity, Dare stated that prospective applicants must show clearly that they have the market, resources and manpower to access the fund.
“The process for accessing the fund would be fair to all youths aged 18 to 35, regardless of their ethnicity or social status,” he added.
According to him, the move became imperative “because building a youthful population that is empowered and successful, is one of the cardinal objectives of this administration.
“For the first time, this country is investing directly in youths. So, government is taking a good risk on our youths, which it hopes will awaken their creative and genius innovative ideas.”
The Minister recalled that apart from the Federal Government investment fund, the ministry had initiated other youth-centered opportunities such as the Digital Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Employability and Leadership Skills (D.E.E.L) and Work Experience Programme (W.E.P).
Others, he said, included the Digital Youth Nigeria (DY.ng) and Nigeria Online Youth Assembly (NOYA) programme, all carefully crafted to address unemployment and employability of youths.
Back story: On October 1, 2020, Nairametrics reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that the NYIF would soon be disbursed.
The apex bank made the announcement via its Twitter handle on Thursday, while the nation marked its 60th Independence anniversary.