Picture this. You’re at a new restaurant that just opened up down the street. You figured you’d give it a shot and who knows, maybe it’ll be the new “go-to” for date night! So you grab a couple friends and you all end up having a great time and enjoying a delicious meal. You go home, spread out on the couch, watch some late night tv, and sleep soundly knowing you found a new favorite restaurant and had a fun night out with your friends.
Now let’s rewind a couple hours. You’ve just arrived at the new restaurant. The wait is 30 minutes long even though there’s hardly anyone there and the staff is running around frantically, hardly paying any attention to you. You finally sit down at your table, the waitress brings you some waters, and disappears for 20 minutes while you’re looking at menus. She comes back, takes your order, your food arrives 30 minutes later, cold and bland. Needless to say, you had a terrible first experience and you go home complaining about the bad service and mediocre (at best) food, and you and your friends agree you will not be going back to that place again anytime soon.
So with 100% honesty answer this question: under which of these two circumstances would you be more likely to go online and write a review for the restaurant? I don’t know about you, but I hardly ever write a good review for a business, and I can name a couple occasions in which I wrote negative reviews. This is why I have made a resolution for myself, as I encourage you to do as well, that I am going to post reviews every time I visit a business, regardless of what kind of experience I had.
Whether you are a business owner, or an employee, you are also a consumer, allowing you to take action to better businesses’ customer service on both ends of the stick. Just as it is your responsibility to respond to the negative reviews your business may receive, it is also your responsibility to give feedback to other companies, good or bad, in the hopes that they too can improve upon their customer service as well.
Receiving negative reviews online is unavoidable for any company, so being prepared and knowing how to respond to these negative reviews when you do receive them is extremely important in managing your customer relations and maintaining a good brand image. Below I have included 5 tips for responding to a negative review online:
1. Read and Reread the Review 2. Include their name in the response (if possible)
Prior to responding to a negative review, you want to make sure you get a thorough understanding of what the customer is complaining about so you do not forget to include anything in your response. For example if you own a restaurant and the customer is complaining about the terrible service and that their soup arrived cold, you should not only respond to the terrible service complaint. You want the customer to feel valued and listened to, so responding to all of their issues is extremely important in maintaining a good customer relationship.
2. Include their name in the response (if possible)
Including the customer’s name in your response to their complaint is a great way of personalizing your message to them and making them feel important. This is not always possible however, for example if a customer’s username is “Gladiator 97,” their first name is most likely not Gladiator, and therefore you should not include any name in the response.
3. Portray a positive outlook on their feedback
You do not want to sound like you are annoyed that they gave you a negative review. Although the customer may be frustrated with your company, they are helping you improve your business by giving you feedback on where you could improve. You should always thank them for writing the review, for example you may write: “Thank you so much for your feedback, we value your business with us..” or “Thank you for taking the time to inform us of your experience, we love receiving customer feedback and are constantly working to improve our customer service..”
4. Acknowledge the difference in perceptions
Negative reviews can be extremely frustrating because on most occasions, the customer is going to exaggerate the issue and make it appear worse than it was in reality. No matter how frustrating this may be, you have to remain the bigger person and express your concern rather than argue the issue with them. Remember, you are not only responding to the customer who wrote the negative review, but to every other person who may read the review and response when looking at your company’s reviews. Being the bigger person and responding as appropriately as possible to your customers’ reviews will benefit your company’s overall image in the long run.
5. Actually look into their issue
As stated before, receiving negative reviews is less of a threat, but more an opportunity to improve your customer service and relationships. If the customer is complaining of a bad experience with an employee, or quality of a product your business carries, it is your responsibility as a company owner to take the time to look into the issue and insure it is resolved and will not reoccur.