We all know how important online reviews are for the reputation of our business. They are a powerful and let’s face it, free way to help grow your business and there's oodles of research out there that shows they should be an integral part of your marketing strategy.
But what happens if you get a rotter of a review?
The first thing I’d say is don’t panic and don’t despair!
Yes, positive reviews from gushing customers are preferable,but complaints do happen and with all the review platforms we have at our finger tips, it's very easy for negative feedback to be shared.
It’s how we deal with them that can make all the difference
So here are a few suggestions how to turn those negatives into positives
1. Respond quickly.
Tempting though it is to ignore it in the hope that it will go away, we shouldn’t shy away from the bad reviews. By responding quickly you’re showing not only your current clients, but potential clients you take complaints seriously and priortise good customer service
2: See it as an opportuniity to use your brand voice.
If you’re an independent small business, like the hundreds I’ve worked with or met over the last 6 years, this is your chance to showcase your integrity and flexibility. You’re the business owner, a human (hopefully) and not a bot. You’re a real person that caress
3. Accept responsibility - even if you're damn sure you’re not in the wrong
You have to accept the responsibility that one of your customers has had a bad experience. Don’t blame, remain humble and stress you want to sort the problem out. Even better, leave contact details, a name, show the readers and the customer you mean business
4. Check the tone of your response
Look, I get it, our businesses are our babies and just like our children, you’ll want to defend them. But before you smash out an angry response on you keyboard, take a step back, take a deep breath and write a draft response that's both polite and clear,.
Before you hit send, I recommend you ask an impartial friend, colleague, neighbour, 4th cousin twice removed, to read what you’ve written. Often when we write, whether it’s a response to a review, a post on facebook or wherever, we write with our internal voice and although we know what we’re thinking, the tone can easily get misinterpreted or misconstrued and have well, adverse effects. Just by someone else to read your reply, your tone can be checked.
5. AH, but how do I deal with trolls?
You can’t stop trolls, whoever they are, from writing bad reviews on whatever review platform you use. But, you can minimise the damage and come out of the situation as a better person by doing a couple of things. Firstly, remain calm. And deal with it in a professional manner. Because online reviews are commonly used, your audience will appreciate that trolls pop up from under their smelly bridges, in search for goats, whilst hiding behind the safety of their keyboards. So, again, deep breath and use this as an opportunity to showcase your professionalism, even to secure the moral high ground. Respond, politely and objectively. Stress you want to get the issue resolved Leave a name and contact number. Show everyone you’re giving them the opportunity to get in touch. I don’t see harm in stating you don’t have a record of dealing with them - again, kill them with kindness, apologise for that, but you’re leaving the ball in their court whilst coming across polite and professional, pleasant to deal, willing to listen.
7. Not all negatives are bad for business
You’re not going to be all things to all people. And remember what’s a negative for some is a positive for others. To give you a simple example - Family Wilby are keen campers, but we like to camp where it’s quiet and close to nature. We don’t want bars, wifi or parties. If we see a review that says 0/5 this campside is dead, there’s no wifi, no bar and it’s quiet by 10pm, it’s a winner in our book. Infact, we look at the negative reviews to get a better overall picture.
8. Learn from the negatives
We can’t all be perfect all the time. Mistakes happen & we have bad days, but as small businesses, we have the unique opportunity to adapt to customer needs and requirements. We don’t have to have our feedback signed off by a board of directors,we can act swiftly and with integrity
Yes, getting a bad review is unpleasant and can cause stress, but it doesn't mean the end of your business. Use it as an opportunity to not only learn from your mistake, but to response that will show your client, customer and potential new business that customer care is high on your list of priorities.
Because sometimes, how you handle online negative feedback, can have more of an impact that just 5* reviews.
If you'd like to chat about how to make the most of your reviews in your marketing, please get in touch
Member since: 17th March 2014
Hello! I'm Penny from thebestof Sudbury, shouting about the best local businesses from Hadleigh through the Clare. When I'm not doing that, you'll find me knitting socks or tending to my 6 chickens