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Small Business and Self-Employed

5 Tips for Responding to Negative Customer Reviews

With sites such as HungryGoWhere, Yelp and Tripadvisor, it’s now easier than ever for customers to share their experience with your business. This can be really scary for a business owner. After all, nobody likes to criticized, especially not through a medium as public and permanent as the Internet.

Reviews (even negative ones) don’t have to be daunting, though. Look at this an opportunity. You can now hear more directly and immediately from both satisfied and unhappy customers – and you now have the opportunity to respond.

It’s easy to just ignore the negative reviews, but here’s why you shouldn’t:

  • 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from you if you don’t respond to complaints [source: Conversocial]
  • 83% of people who complaint and received a response liked or loved the fact that they got a response [source: Maritz Research]
  • If you take care of a dissatisfied customer’s complaints, they are more likely to remain loyal, and even become advocates for your brand [source: Strauss & Seidel]

But be careful: Make sure your response is relevant to their complaint. 63% of people who complained on Twitter say they would hate it if the company responded about something other than their complaint [source: Maritz Research]

It’s pretty clear that you should respond to customer reviews and complaints. But the big question is: how do you do that well?

1. Be aware

The first step to being able to respond to customer reviews is knowing what your customers are saying. Make sure you stay on top of these reviews, by monitoring and tracking the relevant review sites, as well as mentions of your brand.

2. Respond quickly, and acknowledge the issue

We live in a world of instant communication these days. Your customers aren’t going to wait around forever for a response. The longer a review or comment goes unacknowledged, the longer the negative sentiment can fester.

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3. Be genuine

Customers like knowing that they are heard by actual people. Try not to sound scripted, and definitely don’t auto-respond. If you can, try to showcase your personality in your responses. Being human and genuine works in your benefit.

4. Don’t take it personally

Whatever you do, don’t pick a fight with anyone. It’s okay to stand your ground if you didn’t do anything wrong, but do so professionally. Don’t insult your customers, don’t call them names, definitely don’t swear at them or threaten them.

5. Fix Issues

Make sure you fix the issues. People will notice if the same issues are brought up time and time again. You don’t want to be written off as a lost cause – so make sure you’re taking complaints into consideration and make an effort to improve.

Remember: even negative reviews are an opportunity. According to 1Financial Services, for every customer complaint, there are 26 unhappy customers who don’t say anything. 23 of those just don’t return. A negative review is a chance for you to interact with the customer, fix the issues, smooth things over – and hopefully have them coming back again.