Internet reviews are double-edged swords. Every business craves those 5 start ratings singing their praises. But what happens when you get a negative response? Maybe it is well-deserved criticism or maybe your customer is just a jerk that is having a bad day. Since no business is perfect, you should expect an occasional ding to your otherwise “spotless record”. Would it surprise you to know that the negative review does not have as much impact on your reputation as your response to that review?
I consider myself a savvy shopper and I make a point to check out those negative reviews as well as the positive ones. If the business owner addresses the negative customer experience in a positive constructive manner, It is more likely to lessen the impact of the negative review and actually paint a picture of a business owner the is genuinely concerned about customer service.
Jay Baer has written extensively addressing just this situation. In his book entitled “Hug Your Haters” he illustrates various ways actual business owners have used negative reviews to fortify their customer service and at the same time take the opportunity to discover flaws in their own business systems. Not only does this lessen the sting of a poor experience for the customer, but it gives the business owner an opportunity to shore up vulnerabilities in the business process or discover the need for employee retraining. Any business owner that is arrogant enough to think there is no room for improvement in the services the business provides should be prepared for a lot more negative feedback to avalanche his way.
How should you handle negative reviews? Here are some guidelines to follow. I also suggest you read Jay Baer’s material on this subject.
Address the reviews as soon as possible.
This is so important. Check your reviews on a daily basis if not more often depending on how many reviews you usually receive. Automatic notifications can be set for most site reviews such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google Review. If you do not have the time to screen these all yourself, you should assign or hire someone to do it for you. Positive reviews can easily be acknowledged. Negative reviews should be brought to your immediate attention. Unanswered negative input may be seen by many eyes before you have a chance to do damage control if you do not stay on top of your reviews
Fully evaluate all aspects of the complaint.
Assume the customer is right and then move forward to eliminate all possibilities that this is a bogus review. Look back on other reviews to determine if this issue has come up previously. Remember, for every review that is written good or bad—there may be hundreds that are never posted, which amounts to disgruntled customers talking about you behind your back.
Right or wrong, you should find a way to offer to compensate your customer.
Do this within reason. Consider what your out of pocket cost for the service is and use this to gauge what you can offer your customer in the way of compensation. Try to offer something that will bring the offended customer back for another look at your service. In that way, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate that you were able to fix the issue and if there was no real issue, perhaps at least your customer may be in a better mood next time they enlist your service.
You Want Lots of Reviews
Secure as may review as you can. Lots of positives will dilute the occasional negative review. Good practice for small service providers would be to send a review request the day following the service whenever you send out your invoices. You may wish to customize an email that has a clickable link to take customers directly to Google Map reviews, Facebook review or Yelp reviews for your company. Making the review process as easy as possible will increase the number of reviews you collect. I can cite the example of All Star Plumbing, a plumber near Clifton Park, NY. The owner sends a review request for every service. All Star Plumbing averages almost 2 reviews a week to build his reputation.
Use Review Tools
I might also suggest a review solicitation tool that can come in handy not only to maximize the number of reviews that you receive but to also head off negative reviews by giving the disgruntled customer a place to voice his frustrations somewhere outside of an online review forum. This gives you the opportunity to make things right as well as correct problems before they get out of hand. Try the Zurvia tool for free and upgrade at any time when you to be able to reach more customers. There is an app that can be added to your phone and you can set multiple employees up to solicit reviews and or address problems.