Running a business is easy. Said no entrepreneur ever! Most entrepreneurs prepare themselves to handle the difficulties that come with running a business. And just when you think that you are getting the hang of it, life decides to throw a curveball at you. You anticipate some of the hassles of the job, you stumble onto the rest for the first time and figure your way out.
One problem arises after your business is up and running, one that is very common in this digital era—getting bad reviews.
Whether it is a bad review on an online review and recommendation platform (such as Yelp), on your business’s social media pages or even a scathing remark sent via email, it is every business’s nightmare and not everybody knows how to handle one. Here are a few tips to help you deal with a negative review.
1. Know that you are not alone: If you think yours is the only business out there that has received a bad review, think again. Neither are you the first, nor the last! Even the most successful of businesses have got bad reviews at some point in time. The only difference is that they dealt with it, got over it and focused on bettering their brand…and it worked! So, dwell less on the fact that you received a negative review and more on ensuring such reviews don’t come in your way again.
2. Be diplomatic: When we get a bad review, our first impulse would be to prove that the reviewer is wrong. Instead, find out if the reviewer is genuine or if he is just another one of those online bullies. If a genuine customer posts a negative review that talks about a flaw or the poor quality of your product or service, find out exactly what went wrong and address their problem in a diplomatic way. Try to solve your customer’s problem instead of looking for something or somebody to blame. Also, do not send them a generic reply that you save for all the not-so-good replies. A generic reply would only anger your customers more—they would probably wonder why they got a robotic reply read off a piece of paper when they spent their precious time sending you feedback.
3. Be transparent: Certain social media platforms allow businesses to turn off customer reviews, some even allow you to delete the bad ones. When you decide to hide negative feedback, you are sending across a dangerous message that you would rather cover up the mistakes that your business makes rather than address them. Take the case of Amazon. Its huge popularity as the number one online marketplace can be attributed to the level of transparency with which it deals with all sellers and customers. You will find all reviews—good and bad—and additional features that even allow customers to talk to each other!
Transparency instills trust in your clients. When a business responds to a bad review and addresses the reason behind it, it proves that the business is accountable and that they sincerely care about their customers and their pain points.
4. Ask them to reconsider: If you are in the wrong, the right thing to do is to begin by apologizing. Once you apologize, quickly and professionally rectify the situation your customer is in. Once that is taken care of, your reviewer may choose to take their negative review down. Some might even edit it and change it to a positive review. While majority do this without being asked, there is no shame in giving those hesitant ones a little nudge. At the end of the day, reviews do matter, and you do not want to lose out on potential customers who may happen to come across that one bad review and decide whether to do business with you solely based on that.
The positive attitude with which you reply to a bad review speaks volumes about your business and the nature of the people running it. If business is booming, you are more likely to get many online reviews across platforms. In that case, it would be wiser to hire additional help – somebody to take care of your online presence if you feel that you cannot handle it on your own. Because the key is to respond as quickly and professionally as possible and to keep that level of excellence up, and it may not be easy to do it all by yourself when you wear multiple hats.