Dealing with negative customer reviews online

With consumers becoming more dependent on online reviews to inform their decisions, it is increasingly important for businesses to manage negative feedback with consideration and tact.

Online reviews are often the first impression a consumer has on a company, with almost 90% of consumers saying that they check reviews for local businesses. Investing in online reputation management means that you are also boosting your customer service, public relations, and marketing. A negative customer review doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, as you can use it to demonstrate your business’ care and dedication and learn from your mistakes to improve the future of your business.

This is typically an area that many small businesses struggle to grasp or understand. Undoubtedly in the current economic environment, social validation for business experience is a large source of comparison for today’s customers/clients. Typically, the first step someone will undertake when seeking a new service or product will be to google and read. As a business owner, you need to make yourself familiar with what is being said about your business online. Not everyone will have the skills to deal with these – if that is the case then we recommend you speak to someone who can.

Below are just some basic recommendations for how to handle these situations when they arise – as you won’t be able to keep everyone happy all of the time:

Be responsive: Aim to respond to negative feedback promptly, as leaving customers without resolution can worsen their attitude towards your company. Replying to the review quickly can prevent the problem from escalating and spreading to other people.

Apologise wisely: Avoid defensiveness and aggression, and ensure that the customer feels heard. Apologise for the customer’s negative feelings, but not necessarily the thing they are complaining about if it was not your fault. For example, if they have a pricing complaint, offer an explanation over an apology.

Offer solutions: Making an effort to discuss the issue and provide a satisfying resolution with the customer demonstrates commitment to fixing the problem.

Follow up: Following up on the situation after a resolution is offered promotes customer satisfaction and lets them know they are valued.

Have a dedicated staff member: Having to explain the issue to multiple people can be frustrating for the customer, so assigning one employee to manage feedback can keep the process smooth and consistent. Having roles dedicated to customer service can ensure that feedback is handled with skill and expertise.

Learn from the feedback: Negative comments can be a great way to investigate any issues that you may not have recognised before. Learn from the problem to prevent it from happening again, and evaluate what parts were handled well and what parts could have been improved.


Published : 02 Jan 2020