Customer feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, published publicly or privately, is an everyday reality of running a business. As a business owner, your customers are one of your most important resources and their feedback is valuable helping you to grow and improve your business. Social media networks like: Yelp, Google Places, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have all made it easy to promote your business and enabled customers to share their experiences and post reviews of your business but unfortunately this has become a double-edged sword.
If you are active on social media, you’ll know from experience that people can just as quickly and easily express their displeasure as they can show their appreciation and gratitude for a business’s efforts. Negative reviews and comments can be both frustrating and difficult to manage if not dealt with constructively and successfully.
Here are a few simple tips to help you handle respond constructively to customers who may have posted a bad review and published a complaint online about your business.
Reply quickly and attentively
Generally, people who post negative comments believe they have not been listened to or feel dissatisfied with the product or service they have received. If prospective customers or even existing customers see no response from you on social media it will appear to them that you are disinterested or simply ignoring the problem/complaint.
Responding to customers in a short time frame will go a long way to easing a negative situation. If complaints are left unanswered, it not only reflects badly on your business’s reputation but may even aggravate the unsatisfied customer even more!
By acknowledging and replying to a customer’s complaint as quickly as possible, before it begins to escalate and before others start to wade in and fan the flames, is the best solution. You may have saved your business’s reputation in the long-term.
Be patient and respond with perspective
When you receive negative feedback from an unhappy and disgruntled customer – it is important that you remain professional. Try to keep in mind that the complaint is not targeting you individually and so is not a personal attack on your character, but instead the complaint is usually centered around an experience they have had with your business.
If you can, try to keep impartial and professional – this will improve the quality of your response and improve your ability on how you handle complaints in the future.
When customers read your comments, they can see that you have taken the time to respond and tried to resolve any issues the complainant experienced, and this important for restoring trust and credibility back in your business’s reputation.
Reply with a positive response
A well-handled complaint has the power to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal fan for your business. The more insight you have from understanding what has caused your customer’s displeasure will help you write a better quality response. Often, a customer is unaware of the impact negative feedback has published online about your business. The customer may simply be wanting a clear explanation and an apology, so you need to respond clearly and with transparency. They don’t want excuses or feel that their objections are trivial and feel their complaint has been dismissed.
Acknowledge the issue the customer has experienced, reiterate your business values on delivering quality and your dedication to providing a great service or product.
Remember there will always be some customers that you’ll never be able to please, no matter how hard you try and they can’t be reasoned with. Your aim is to simply listen/read their feedback, apologize, offer a solution and move on.
How to deal with serial complainers who leave a bad review
You may find yourself in the rare situation dealing with a customer who leaves a bad review and even though you have gone to great lengths to try to appease them and make amends, they still aren’t happy. Consider whether their complaint is accurate and if it has been blown out of proportion and the complainer is out there just to provoke a debate. While it is important to respond to all feedback, your response needs to be well-thought through and considered through the boundaries of social media.
Try not to take the bait and rise to the challenge, if their comments appear as though they are looking for a fight, the last thing you want to do is fan the flames, especially as your comments appear in a public arena. Instead, offer to take the conversation out of the public forum and contact them directly by phone or via email. Speak to them calmly and professionally and try to come to a mutual agreement.
You may not be able to fully resolve the situation or retain the customer’s loyalty but taking responsibility and responding constructively will ultimately benefit you and how you respond to your customers in the future – even the difficult ones! Bad reviews do not need to cripple your business’s reputation and may help tighten your business practices into a smother, well-run operation.