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How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Recently, in our local social media scene, we watched a local business get burned in a most glorious fashion when trying to go to battle with a customer who left a negative Facebook review.  Not only did the business embarrass themselves, they inadvertently recruited a legion of opponents and lost scores of existing and potential customers. No business owner wants to end up in that situation, and it can be easily avoided by following these five simple steps:

1. Own your shit.

Even if you truly have done no wrong, owning the fact that you didn’t come thru in your customers eyes is important. It will validate their experience, and show other potential customers that you actually care about how each person experiences your business.  Showing your customer you are willing to own a mistake and at least try to make it right will earn you some legit street cred.

2. Stay humble. Don’t get defensive.

Nobody cares how right you think you are, all they will see is how defensive you have become.  Once you go on the defense, you’re typically on a one way path of escalating conflict and pitting yourself against a customer. You will only end up looking like the bad guy. It’s best to swallow your pride and take the high road.

3. Offer a solution.

Here is a chance to both market yourself, save some face and do the right thing.  Offer up a solution in the form of solving the issue, providing compensation, or comping their next experience. This is a great way to convert an unhappy customer to a happy one, allow you the chance to create a positive experience on the second try, and maybe even recruit a word-of-mouth evangelist for your business.

4. Take the conversation offline.

Keeping a conversation online does little but create more opportunity to make a mistake and look bad.  Besides, the more things carry on online, the more likely you are to get trapped in a defensive roll and escalate into a conflict state.  Taking things offline. Make a phone call or schedule an in person visit. This helps to diffuse any simmering animosity as having a voice conversation or in person conversation humanizes the whole thing, making it unlikely anyone will stay hostile and angry.

5. Keep it super simple. (K.I.S.S.)

Long winded responses are not what anyone but an internet troll is trying to get out of you, and when you give one, you might just be feeding the troll. Keep your response short, concise and with a definitive goal of finding a resolution to mitigate the opportunity for escalation. You’ll also save everyone involved a ton of time.

So, when you get one of those stinging one star reviews that gets under your skin and makes you want to lash out – don’t. Take a deep breath, walk away for a few moments, and when you come back to it, follow these five steps, knowing that everything will be okay. You can do it the right way. And if you need a little help, thats where an agency like ours is only a phone call or email away.