…..without tearing your hair out or losing (too much) sleep!
Recently one of the members of a FB group I belong to posted that she was extremely upset by a very negative review of their bespoke service on TripAdvisor. Reading her post I could certainly feel her pain as she described how she felt reading the review. She was asking the group how she ought to deal with it. Many of us offered suggestions on how to handle it.
This started me thinking about you. Have you thought about how would you handle a negative online review of your business? Do you encourage your clients to leave reviews? on Google? on FaceBook?
Of course we would love to have all 5 star reviews. From time to time people might not experience things the way they might expect…. which might lead to a negative review.
The best time to think about how to handle a negative review is now in the clear light of day, not in that moment when you are faced with the negative review. Chances are you would be emotional and potentially angry….
Here are a few key steps that I would recommend:
- Take time to think about a considered response. The danger of an immediate response is that you might write something you would later regret. Remember that most people will be more interested in your response to the negative review than the negative review itself. Think about it this way: your response is for your potential future clients. They are the ones likely to be reading reviews.
- Write out your response either by hand or on your computer and walk away from it. If possible sleep on it before posting. Yes, you want to respond quickly, however not so quickly that you make things worse.
- Apologise. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to say something like “I am so sorry this has happened…” or “I apologise that you feel …”. This sort of language helps everyone understand that you recognise the situation from their perspective. Please note this does not mean you agree, just that you empathise. An important distinction.
- Stick to the facts and do not make excuses. Potential customers don’t really want to read a whole lot of “the dog ate my homework” excuses. There is also an opportunity here to fix anything that might not be working so well in your business. Is any of what the negative review says actually true? Can you fix it? Do you need to improve your systems and processes?
- Take it offline – if possible. Depending on your business and the type of negative review, you could offer your business phone number and ask the customer to contact you directly to give you the opportunity to address their issue personally.
- Never try to be funny, smart, disparaging, nasty or try to point out how ridiculous they are …. even if you truly feel they have been completely out of line. Remember your response will be read by your future potential clients and customers.
- Go back and read all of your positive reviews. Re-read your Vision and Mission to remind yourself why you do what you do and who you are doing it for.
If you don’t have online reviews, read thank you letters or emails from clients letting you know how much they appreciate what you do for them and what a difference your business and the service or products you provides makes in their lives.
Do you have any other ideas about how to handle negative reviews? I’m interested to learn from you as well.
Today it is so easy for people to make comments about our business in a very public way through Google reviews, FaceBook, TripAdvisor and there are probably more that I don’t even know about.
Just last week one of my clients told me about her sister’s experience engaging a business to do some work on her house. The experience was not good. When she later checked online she found a number of negative reviews – none of which had received any response from the business – and most of the things in those reviews also happened to her sister. Its a shame she hadn’t looked at those reviews earlier.
People do look to online reviews to help with their purchasing decisions. Have you checked your reviews lately? Do you have a Google business account? Are you encouraging your clients to leave you a review?
Have you thought about how you would handle a negative review? Please let me know if you need any assistance with this. I believe that it’s important to “be prepared.”
I’m Ingrid Thompson and thank you for reading this post.
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