How To Handle Negative Online Reviews
In part one to online reviews, we discussed how to set up the reviewal process for success. From designing, promoting, and integrating your online reviews – we’ve outlined a complete guide to getting started.
But no system is immune to the occasional, at times seemingly relentless, negative feedback. So, now for the tricky part. How are you going to handle feedback once you start hearing it? Not every review is going to be singing your praises. And it is challenging not to take a negative review personally even if the reviewer doesn’t mention you specifically. Some customers are impossible to please and figuring out their logic may be equally impossible. That said, if you are hearing the same feedback repeatedly, it might be time to see if there is any truth in what your customer is saying.
If your customers complain that the restrooms are never clean, then it might be time to assess your cleaning schedule and process. If you consistently read that customers do not like their scrambled eggs as runny as you are serving them, it might be a good idea to ask friends who you trust to be honest with you if there is any validity to what you are hearing. Of course the customer is not always right, and you want to stay true to your culinary vision, but you also wouldn’t want to lose profits because your customers just don’t agree with your style. Sometimes you have to come to a compromise. Feedback will sometimes make you uncomfortable at first. But when you make some changes and begin to see the tide turn, you’ll know you made the right choice.
Responding publicly to online reviews is always a good practice. Thanking customers for taking the time to leave a reviewer is not only polite, but also shows that you care about what your customers think. Responding to a negative review is also helpful. If a potential customer sees that you hear all of your customers – not just the happy ones – you gain another opportunity to show that you are a trustworthy brand. It can be tough to say thank you for criticism, especially if you feel like the reviewer is wrong, or just caught you on an “off” day. Let the reviewer know that you appreciate their input. If you feel like the experience is not the norm, then you will definitely want to apologise. If the feedback is constructive, let the reviewer know that you are going to take what they are saying into consideration.
You may get a review that is so ridiculous it makes the reviewer look as much. It is ok to ignore the occasional review. Let’s face it, anyone running a business is always busy. You may not be able to get to every single review, but even if you can acknowledge at least half of them, you are showing that the review site isn’t just a dumping ground but a place to meaningfully engage with your customers.
The customer experience that you provide often starts with that first point of contact: checking your business out online. With so much information available at everyone’s fingertips, you can’t afford to miss out on an opportunity to attract your most desired clients or lose out to giants and large, established franchises. Reviews are a great place to start in building your brand awareness and loyalty.