It is a well-known fact that businesses are not perfect and if they say they are, they’re lying straight to your face. It’s just how things are and you’ll have to accept it whether you want to or not.
You need to keep in mind that a lot of things can go wrong when you are managing a business. Whether it’s a slip up on behalf of a vendor, or a delayed shipment, or other such aspects, all these errors can damage the reputation of the brand you tried so hard to build. Be prepared for harsh or unforgiving comments and deal with such situations accordingly.
Despite the fact that it is impossible to control what upset or biased customers say about your product, services or your company, make sure you react to criticism in a tempered way.
You could take a page out of Yelp’s book. In their support center they warn that “contacting reviewers should be approached with care and that the internet messaging is a blunt tool and at times good intentions may come across badly.“
Yelp also gives us some useful tips such as:
1. The reviewers are paying customers.
2. Reviewers are human beings that have feelings and sensitivities.
3. Reviewers are also vocal and opinionated.
The good news is that, this advice applies not only for Yelp, but also for dealing with negative reviews anywhere on the web.
Nothing spells disaster more than getting into a war of words with reviewers. Moreover, you should do your best to offer authentic and empathetic responses. This may prove extremely beneficial in the long run and earn not only their respect but also their loyalty.
Here are four ways in which you can recover from negative reviews:
1. When you make a mistake, don’t sweep it under the rug from your customers. The most common mistake a company does after making a mistake is that they will use the “copy and paste” method of a canned response and do their best to hide it in Google’s search results. Another mistake a company does is not admitting the error and simply waiting for it to disappear into thin air.
However, none of these approaches will work on a long term basis. The reviewers will see that you undervalue them and they’ll do anything to avoid purchasing services or products from you. Acknowledge your mistakes and do everything within your powers to make it right rather than making it go away.
2. Solutions are the answer and not excuses. Keep your ego in check and deal with the fact that you made a mistake. Own up to it even if it is not really your fault. Offer a heartfelt apology with a partial or full refund, free gifts or expedited shipping. Afterwards, go out of your way and offer an outline for a plan that will fix the problem for good.
You could present facts that will show that you are working closely with the department that made the mistake. This will provide useful insight and show your reviewers that you actually learned something from the experience and you did everything possible to avoid such mistakes in the future.
3. Use the customers to your benefit. Often times, an angry customer doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is malicious on purpose. In most cases, they simply want to have their voices heard and be treated with respect. Invite them to help you create a better business that will bring you more revenue in return.
Ask your customers for ideas and ways on how you can improve your products or services. This will not only add more value to your products and services, but also increase sales. Just listen to your customers and deliver them the products they yearn for.
4. A clean conscience will make your life easier. After doing what’s best for business customer-wise, make sure you can keep your head held high. Why feel guilty, burdened or ashamed when you can avoid it? It can also affect your performance and your morale. When your business will start growing, the number of vocal complaints will also increase. Therefore, to ensure that your legacy and your brand reputation is spotless make sure you honor every complaint. This will not only win back customers but also prevent the issue from ever arising back again.