Social media is an invaluable tool for businesses as it allows them to connect to their customers directly. Giving customers the ability to leave reviews for social validation is a good idea in theory, but it does not always work in practice. Customers and the public can leave negative comments and reviews that end up affecting your business. How you react to these negative comments and reviews tells a lot about your leadership skills and how the business at large handles negative criticism. Doing so with grace requires a careful touch, and this article will focus on how you can do that.
When you leave a negative review to hang around without a response, the customer, site user, or writer can feel like they are being ignored and decide writing another negative piece would be justified. Also, people will make decisions about your business based on whether they think you take negative criticism seriously.
Even where the negative review calls for a longer or detailed response, it would be better to say you are looking into it and will have a full response later. Once you have had time to think about the review and have a response ready, get it out. If you promise to send a response and don’t do so, that will be a bad look for your business.
Create Personalized Responses
It is very tempting to use a template to formulate a response to negative reviews, comments, or feedback. It is better to create personalized responses for these reviews, even if the response ends up shorter than expected.
Crafting personalized messages will signal that you have listened as well as taken the time to come up with a resolution to the issues highlighted in the review.
Sometimes you will feel like a negative review is undeserved, and thus you may disagree with its sentiments. No matter the case, always try to accept accountability. Sometimes a business has to take a hit, respond with respect, and move on.
Accepting accountability is about cooling things down, taking the customer or writer into a private space, listening to why they feel the way they do, and coming up with solutions together. What you want is to get the discussion out of public view to avoid bad actors piling on and making the situation worse.
Don’t Get Defensive
This ties into the point above; it is important to acknowledge that the negative review is coming from somewhere and process what the other person has said. Once you do this, find ways to solve the problem or issues they are facing and incorporate this into your response.
Controversial or sensitive issues can get out of hand quickly and thus these conversations should be handled privately. Opening a line of dialogue can make the other person feel acknowledged and increase the chances that they end up listening to what you have to say.
There will be instances where you will feel the customer is not right and your instinct to argue to make a point known might kick in. Try to remain cool, avoid arguing and picking online fights. Arguing and picking fights will backfire, and you can never tell your side of things.
Even when the person leaving the review has made a mistake, it is always better to get them into a private conversation so you can explain the situation. Most people will appreciate being given an audience with tact used and might amend their review or not escalate things further.
Businesses and business owners must always remember that how they communicate online is a direct representation of the business or business owner. Be kind and respectful but stern in your responses so the user can hear you.
Lengthier discussions are better held on the phone, so the person feels they are receiving a personalized service. Remember that excellent customer service centered on respect is essential for the success of your business.
Do not Delete or Attack Negative Reviews
A common mistake that businesses make is deleting or attacking negative reviews because they feel like these reviews are giving their business a bad name. Doing so signals you have something to hide, and this can damage your business’ reputation further.
That said, sometimes doing so is acceptable, such as when a customer is making unfounded claims, using profanity, or talking about things that have nothing to do with your business or its products and services.
Deleting negative reviews can seem like you are trying to censure legitimate critiques while attacking them will show you do not have the substance to handle criticism directed at you or your business. Once customers hear about this, you can expect a lot more backlash, and this is never a good thing.
Get a Second Opinion
Because of how damaging negative reviews can be for your business, you need to be very careful about the response you send back. Once you have written a response you think is appropriate, get someone else to read it.
When getting the second opinion, show your colleague the negative review and then have them read your response. They will then provide feedback on how the response sounds, whether it is measured and where it addresses the issues you want it to.
Be Thankful for The Feedback
Many of the people who post negative social media reviews are often looking to pick a fight. You can sidestep all this by acknowledging the feedback and thanking the person leaving the review. Negative feedback can be incredibly helpful, especially when it contains facts and other information that you might not have thought of before.
Once you thank the person leaving the review, do not forget to show that you will work on fixing the issues brought up.
No one wants a negative review of them being shared on social media. Such reviews can be incredibly damaging for businesses unless you know how to respond to and deal with them. Businesses owners can learn or train the right people to deal with these negative reviews, so they do not end up becoming a lot more than they are.