No matter if you follow all the rules, are open and honest and even go the extra mile for all your customers you’re bound to sooner or later get negative online feedback about your products or services. You’re better off considering it a rite of passage rather than becoming upset, because when it comes down to it, no PR is bad PR. So the next time you see a bad review, learn how to smile and use it for the opportunity it truly is, an opportunity to show that you truly CARE about your customers concerns.
Act Instead of React
Whenever you first read negative feedback, no matter how well-constructed or off of the rails it might be, the very first thing you should do is give yourself some time to cool off. How many people do you know of who make good decisions when their temper is flaring? Remember that you’re acting as a business owner (or on behalf of one), which means that you’ve got to be as professional as possible.
When you do respond, which should be within 24 hours, make sure you understand just what it is the individual is complaining about and let them know you recognize his or her frustrations. Once you understand the situation and have started the dialogue, offer a solution where you take responsibility for what happened, even if you feel the customer is at fault. We also recommend that you take action to handle the root of the problem so you don’t receive a similar complaint in the future. Finally, make yourself available to the customer in order to find out how satisfied they are with your resolution.
Turning a Negative Into a Positive
You may not realize it, but customers who post negative reviews and feedback about your business are doing you a favor. The reason for this is that consumers are less likely to trust a company that doesn’t have any negative reviews whatsoever. No company is that perfect, and it’s nearly impossible to please everybody.
Once you’ve taken good care of them, those customers who originally posted a bad review or comment might go back and delete their remarks and replace them with something more positive. Congratulations, you’ve just converted a complaining customer into a loyal customer. If you really impress that once-disgruntled customer, there’s a good chance he might go on to sing praises of your company and the way you do business to friends and family.
Building a Better Business
After you’ve taken care of a negative review or customer complaint, take an honest look at your business and how you run it. Did the customer’s comments have any merit? Are your prices a bit too high for the quality of your products or services? Are your employees empowered to be able to handle your customers in a timely manner (A help desk solution can help)? Take some time to tweak problem areas and improve your business. Once you do, touch bases with any customers who had complaints and see how your improvements are working. Make your customers feel truly appreciated and they’ll be with you for the long haul.
Rather than saying you’ve received negative feedback, tell yourself that you’ve received negative feedback and a positive opportunity. We’re here to help you build a better business, whether it be through a compliment or a complaint.