Having a business has many ups and downs and in today’s world where consumers and customers have a lot of say on social media platforms, a good day is when you get positive reviews but a low point can be a negative review from one of your customers.
It’s something that happens to the best of businesses because it’s impossible to please every single person. Businesses are not always separated by the existence of bad reviews but rather by how they handle them. In most cases, a customer who complains can actually become a bigger fan if their concern is handled professionally and respectfully.
It’s important to remember that bad reviews aren’t actually a bad thing- they are necessary in helping you make your business better. If no one told you what was wrong, how else would you be able to improve the service you offer? The best businesses have something pushing them and keeping them on their toes. Offering your customers the best possible service, should give you that push.
Here at SEW, we don't look at it as Feedback but rather Feed-forward - you should too. Here are a few tips to get you started.
As soon as the review goes up, respond. Even if you’re not sure of the course of action you will take, acknowledge that you have seen the complaint, and apologize for the inconvenience they faced and also tell them that you will get back to them as soon as possible. The longer you leave it unanswered the more likely that the person will get more annoyed or lose faith in your brand. Don’t take hours to say something – this makes it look like you don’t care enough about your customers. Don’t start an argument with the person because it’s highly likely that they have had a bad experience and your job is to fix it, not pass the blame. The fact that someone has been offended by a product or service should be enough for you to want to show that you value them.
It’s important for you to make contact with the customer so that you deal with them personally. It’s either you phone or email them so that you can hear what actually happened. Be prepared for an earful and don’t start an argument. Let the person get whatever happened off their chest and be apologetic and assure them that you will deal with the issue as soon as possible.
Now is the time for you to fix the problem and make life easier for the customer. If it is a product that wasn’t up to standard, replace it and if it’s bad service deal with the person who gave it. If a mistake was made with their billing, fix it immediately. Whatever was messed up has to be corrected before the customer sees you as ineffective. Some brands don’t know how to do enough in this regard – they often just apologize and say they have dealt with person who provided the bad service. There’s no way that the customer’s going to know this was done so you have to take it further.
Go the Extra Mile
Now you have fixed the problem and corrected the mistake but remember that a person was inconvenienced and as a result, you need to do something to make that person’s day better. If they go a bad product, offer them store credit or a voucher and if the problem was a bad service give them the month free. This isn’t something most brands want to do but it is necessary because it shows that you care about the customer beyond correcting something that wasn’t even meant to be wrong in the first place.
Get in touch with the customer again to let them know that you have dealt with the matter. At this point you should apologize once more for the inconvenience and also make sure they are happy with how you corrected the mistake. Also tell them to get in touch with you should they have a similar problem again. Companies are tested on many different things and this includes their response to bad reviews on social media. It’s important to apply the rules of “the customer is always right” and handle your interaction with them professionally and not as if you want to punish them for speaking up. Remember that these reviews can work to your benefit if you allow them to help you fine tune the service you’re providing so that you not only keep the customers you have happy but also so that you gain new ones too.