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.