How to Deal with Negative Reviews

How to Deal with Negative Reviews

Here’s a simple and often hard truth for many business owners to accept. Are you ready?

You won’t be able to please every customer.

It’s just not possible. You’ll have customers that think your product or service is overpriced. You’ll have customers come in with out of this world expectations, and when you can’t meet them (which you won’t be able to), they’ll complain.

You’ll have customers that demand their money back.

So, since getting a negative review is a bit inevitable, your focus must shift to how you will address and learn from them, when they happen. Here are three things I recommend doing the next time you get a negative review.

  1. Validate the customer. The last thing you want to do is attack the customer. Even if their expectations were not in line with your service, validate their concern or complaint. Keep in mind that if the review is online, other prospective customers will be able to see your response, so be sure it is cordial, apologetic, and always written with a focus on correcting the problem.
  2. Escalate the response. If the customer is complaining about the level of service they received, you want to always have an upper-level manager respond. Not only does this show that you take customer service complaints seriously, but it is good practice for managers to be aware of complaints. You also want the person responding to be able to offer an immediate solution to rectify the situation. Having to leave comments like “I will pass this along to my manager to see if we can issue a refund,” should be avoided. Not only does this leave the loop open, having customers wonder whatever happened, but it also doesn’t immediately resolve the customer complaint. Instead, having a manager respond that can offer resolution is best, with a statement such as, “Thank you for your feedback, we have issued a refund and will be sending you a complimentary product as well as a free voucher for a future visit.”
  3. Study every service complaint. I’ve learned more about my business and what changes I need to make by studying negative reviews than surveying satisfied customers. Every business has flaws and many of them you can’t see since you are in the day-to-day of your business. A customer, especially one that had a negative experience can shed light on what areas of your service or product may need to be changed. Take note, look for patterns in complaints, and be open to changing things within your business to better suit your customers.

Also, keep in mind that not every customer you have is an ideal customer. Some people are outside of your target audience and no matter if you provide stellar service and have an amazing product, they will still not be satisfied. This week, I challenge you to identify the areas in your business where you can tighten things up to offer a better experience for your customers.

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