No one wants to get a bad review, or a bad reputation. It can erode your self-confidence professionally, negatively affect your prospect’s buying decision, and can be a pain to manage. They’re a fact of life for modern businesses, however, and the sooner you get a handle on how to reply to them, the better.
Here are 5 dos to make it easier when replying to negative reviews.
DO acknowledge the review ASAP
Most of the time, customers are not complaining just to complain. They actually have a valid reason behind their online rants. When you don’t respond to their post in a timely manner – meaning as soon as you can – it can be misconstrued as you ignoring them and will exacerbate the issue.
You don’t have to address the issue yet if you’re not ready, just an acknowledgment of having read the complaint and an assurance that you’re looking into the problem are enough to appease the customer. For now, anyway.
* Step one… of course is KNOWING about the post in the first place. See http://kristinacoyne.com/repwarn for Reputation management software, which lets you know of reviews in real time
DO get background info
Context is everything. You need to investigate if the complaint is valid. If so, is this an isolated incident or a recurring issue? If not, was there a misunderstanding or is the reviewer just trolling? Be objective and sincere in your research. Remember that bad reviews are a great learning experience for a business and investigate accordingly.
Bad reviews are a great learning experience for a business – take advantage of them.
DO identify yourself
In your reply, introduce yourself and how you’re connected to the company. This will let the customer know that their issue is being handled by someone who’s supposed to and that they’re in good hands.
DO focus on the main problem
Reviewers can sometimes ramble in their posts, especially when they’re unhappy. When crafting your response, try to gear the point of the entire thing on the main issue. Thank the reviewer for their time and apologise if necessary, but stick to the facts – what the issue is, what you’ve done to fix it, and how you can make it up to the customer. This will minimise negative emotions in your interaction and get the problem resolved more expediently.
DO try to take the conversation offline
If you can. Especially if you’re still investigating. You want to lessen online exposure on the issue. When it’s been resolved, you can post a comment on the original review stating the resolution or request the reviewer to give your business another try.
Bad reviews are a necessary but manageable evil. Know what to do beforehand and always remember to take time to assess before you act, and you’ll be able to limit the damage they can cause.
And to take the hassle out of finding reviews in a timely manner, see http://kristinacoyne.com/repwarn for Reputation Management Software