What do you do when you receive a negative customer reviews? Whether they show up on your website, a review site, or elsewhere; negative reviews sting.
When you see a particularly bad review, you may be tempted to take any action necessary to remove the negative review or issue a statement in opposition to the customer complaint.
But before you fight the negative review, consider first how you should handle the situation.
What shouldn’t you do?
Negative reviews aren’t always bad for business. In a recent study, 68% of consumers surveyed indicated that they better trust reviews that have a mix of positive and negative reviews. 95% of those surveyed suspected censorship or fake reviews when all reviews shown were positive.
Your product or service won’t satisfy everyone. Consumers understand this, and when they don’t see any negative reviews, they get suspicious of honesty in your review process.
In a modern marketplace overwhelmed by online reviews and social media posts, everybody has a platform to express their opinion. No matter how great your product, service, or customer relations, you are bound to disappoint someone.
Don’t hide your negative reviews. A few here and there will lend credibility to your company.
Don’t ignore negative reviews Whether you agree with a negative customer review or not, don’t ignore it. The review won’t disappear on its own. Eventually, it may get buried under a long list of reviews. But, ignoring it can make matters worse.
Ignoring a negative review allows consumers to assume the worst about your company:
- The negative review is true, and your company can’t correct it
- Your company doesn’t intend to fix the problem
- Your company doesn’t listen to its customers
- Your company doesn’t care about its customers’ opinions
You need to take control of the conversation after a negative review. Customers need to see that you care through a response.
Even if the negative review is off base, you should respond with a positive affirmation of your products and services.
Your response to negative reviews can actually help build your company’s reputation through positive customer service. Consumers appreciate businesses that own mistakes and act quickly to solve problems.
The speed and manner of your responses to unsatisfactory customer experiences will directly relate to overall customer satisfaction with your business.
What should you do when you receive a bad review?
You may need to apologise to a customer.
You may need to correct a problem.
You may need to deflect a comment from a troll.
Regardless of your response, make a decision and execute quickly. An untimely response to a negative review might leave you with more negative reviews to deal with.
For example, imagine you sell a seasonal product. If customers complain of a product defect and you don’t respond until the season is over, your delayed response will rightly make matters worse with your customers.
Even if you can’t satisfy a customer’s request, or fix the problem, a prompt response assures customers that you care.
Examine your negative reviews. Do you see any patterns? If customers complain about a similar issue on a consistent basis, you might have a systemic problem. While systemic problems damage your business, they can likely be fixed.
If there is particular product problem, rethink your design or improve the quality.If your service is lacking, you may need to set better expectations or improve performance. If your sales and customer service over-promises or under-performs, you may need to train through the difficulties, or hire new hands.
Uncovering negative patterns in customer reviews hurts in the short term, but will help you in the long term. You don’t put products or services on the market with known problems. You don’t train employees to displease customers. Without an honest review system, you may never discover these problems.
Once you identify problems, do something about it. Don’t wait for the next board meeting. Don’t hire a consultant. Don’t create a committee to address the problem. Act. Even if you can’t fix the problem in its entirety, take some steps.
Show your customers that you are actively working towards a solution. You might need to make changes that require board approval. You may need to hire a consultant for the longer term. But, for the immediate future, you need to take action to satisfy your customers.
On the other hand, if a negative customer review is unfounded and from a troll, seek legal guidance to determine if you can take down the review. If so, take it down, and move on. Like most areas of your business, you cannot afford to stand still.
Negative customer reviews demand your attention, and corresponding action. It may seem counterintuitive, but use negative customer views as an opportunity to better your relationship with customers, and build a better business.