In the age of Google reviews, Twitter battles, and Facebook comments, it can be hard to know how to handle the negative reviews that every business gets. After all, you can only do something wrong if you’re actually doing something.
How to view negative reviews
Too many business owners see negative reviews as something they need to fight about. A negative review comes in and they will instantly respond with anger and justification.
In truth, negative reviews are part of doing business. Every business that’s ever been in existence has been told by a customer that they’re not awesome. The difference now is that it’s not done to your face in your store or shop; it’s done online for the entire world to read. Worst of all, in most cases, the reviews can’t be removed.
They never go away
Not only do the reviews stay up forever, but your response to them will be there forever! If you start calling the customer names and insulting them, it will be there for everyone to see forever. If you try to make excuses about what happened, everyone can read it forever.
So… don’t respond right away. Stop right now and don’t do anything. Put down your phone, close your computer, and walk away.
After you’ve cooled down, come back and read the rest of this article to learn how to handle negative reviews in way that will help build your brand.
Okay. Are you calmer? Good.
Let’s take care of that review.
Apologize and move away
The first thing you need to do is apologize. Not for what happened, but for how they feel. “I’m sorry that the work wasn’t to your expectations.” You’re not admitting to substandard work. You’re simply expressing sympathy that they aren’t happy.
The next thing to do is get it out of the public eye. “Please call me at the shop or DM me. Let’s see if we can fix things so you’re happier.”
What if they don’t contact you directly? Post another message in two days. “Hi. Just reaching out to see if you wanted to get together to fix your concerns.”
What if they still don’t contact you? Post a message in the place that they posted the review making it clear that you tried, but they never contacted you. “Hi. I haven’t heard from you. I’m sadly not able to correct anything if you don’t contact me. I’ll be here if you decide to contact me. Take care.” That says to anyone reading it, “They tried, but the guy didn’t contact them.”
What if they contact you? Be nice. Don’t argue. Do what you can to make it right within your company’s policies and your inclinations. Do not fight with them. That will end up in the review as well. If they accept a solution, post a message on the review site. “Thank you for contacting me. I hope the solution I was able to supply meets your expectations. All my best.”
NEVER try to resolve issues online. Try not to resolve issues in writing. Phone calls are much better. And never post anything negative about the customer, even if they deserve it. No one wants to go to a business where they talk smack about their customers.
Responding to negative online reviews can take a lot of discipline and a slow fuse. Just remember everything you put on the internet will be there forever. Don’t say anything you don’t want to have to own when someone walks into your shop.