If you own a business then online review management should be a consistent part of your marketing plan. Reviews affect your brand, but more importantly it’s how you respond to reviews that will have the most impact on potential customers. I would like to say that you will never get a bad review, but even the best of the best get less than 5 stars, even if very rarely. Your positive reviews should greatly outweigh your negative reviews. If not then you should look at the quality of your services or products. Here are 5 tips on how to respond to bad reviews:
- ALWAYS Respond – The biggest piece of advice I can give as the owner of a digital marketing company is to respond to every single review, good or bad. Positive reviews are easy to respond to because they make you feel all warm and cozy inside, so thanking someone for an awesome review comes naturally. Negative reviews are difficult to take, but you can turn the outcome into a positive experience with a professional response.
- Calm Down – I would say to remain calm but let’s face it, we all get a little ticked off when a bad review is submitted by a customer. It’s really hard not to take it as a personal attack, but those feelings will not lead to the best response. I manage my clients reviews for them, so it’s easy for me not to get emotionally involved after years of practice running Shayla Does It Marketing Services. If you get heated easily then wait at least 24 hours before responding and you will calm down some. I find that a glass of wine helps.
- Respond Directly – Almost every review site will allow the business to reply directly to reviews. Google even recommendeds to respond to reviews! DO NOT make a post about the review and/or rant about the person or the review – this is very unprofessional! Folks will likely be leery to give you any feedback or do business with you at all assuming you may treat them in the same manner.
- Apologize – Even if you know the review gives false information you should always apologize for a less than positive experience. Sometimes it’s obvious that the profile of the person submitting the review is either fake or not in your customer records. More often than not it actually IS a customer or someone who knows a customer and they are using a fake profile to hide their identity. It’s human nature to avoid confrontation, but the internet makes it a lot easier to complain anonymously. Respond to this type of review by saying something like:
“We apologize if you had a less than positive experience with our company, however we do not have any record of you in our customer database. We would really appreciate calling us or sending us a direct message so we could discuss what happened.”
- Reach Out – Often times it’s appropriate to offer corrective action in addition to an apology, especially for a specific issue. I recommend to ask in the response if the reviewer would please send you a direct message so you can privately work to resolve the issue. Here’s an example:
“We are sorry to hear about your experience with our company. We strive to offer excellent customer service and would like to discuss this with you further. Please give us a call, a direct message, or an email so we can work together to resolve this issue.”
Another approach is to simply say you will strive to do better in the future without necessarily apologizing for anything. This especially works for a less than perfect rating or review without comments. Here’s an example:
If you remain calm, professional, apologetic, approachable, and prompt, then your business will still be seen in a positive light even after the darkest of reviews are submitted.
Shayla Robertson, owner of Shayla Does It Marketing Services is a highly respected expert Digital Marketer. She specializes in webdesign, social media management, blogging, SEO, graphic design, and more! Learn more about Shayla and why she was nominated as one of the best digital marketing companies of OKC in 2017: www.shayladoesit.com