Your most valuable asset is your brand reputation. We all fear feedback about our business. Bad feedback can be unfair, misleading, and just plain inaccurate. Bad feedback can happen regardless of the quality of your work or how many people love your business. So instead of worrying about the next online rant from a dissatisfied customer, take charge.
Here is how you should respond to bad feedback.
Gather all the Facts
Our first instinct to protect our brand is to reply instantly or delete bad feedback. Resist this urge.
Sometimes, bad feedback can help, not harm, your business. Take some time to cool off and gather all the information you can about this customer and why they placed bad feedback. It is ok to get a second opinion and talk to colleagues first before replying.
Acknowledge the Issue
Don’t ignore the issue. In most cases, even if you don’t think the customer is right, it’s important to acknowledge the issue. If someone left bad feedback, they took time out of their day to let you know how they felt. Respond to them so they know their words aren’t falling on deaf ears. For example, begin your response with something like this:
“Thank you for providing your feedback and letting us know about this issue, we are sorry you felt this way.”
There are three things to remember when providing an explanation:
Don’t make excuses–take responsibility. Be clear why the misunderstanding occurred.
Issue an apology, even if the other party was in the wrong.
Offer advice on how to re-engage with your business.
33% of negative reviews on Yelp turn positive when you take the time to respond to an upset customer.
Promote a Positive Image of your Business
Without sounding like you’re contradicting the guest, convey why his or her experience is rare in sincere and non-condescending language.
If it feels natural, include some of your business’s strengths in your reply. Responses can be a great way to flip the narrative and frame your business in a positive light—while still making the customer feel heard.
Follow up Offline
Once you have replied online to your customer, follow up with them offline. Taking the issue offline shows that you’re fully willing to handle this situation—and you’re not just apologising for show.
We do not recommend that you ask the person to remove the bad feedback, as this could make the situation worse. Instead, ensure the client feels that their bad feedback was acknowledged.
Learn from the Bad Feedback
It may seem counter-intuitive, but bad feedback can also be a valuable part of your marketing strategy.
Customers are looking for negative comments and feedback. They want to know any shortcomings of your product or service. They know that a perfect 5 Star ratings review may not believable, and they want to know the little things that aren’t so good that they can live with.
Negative reviews and bad feedback are authentic. If a customer takes the time to point out the flaws in your product or service, then it is a good indicator that they have been a customer and used the product.
In summary, learn from the bad feedback. We need to know what our customers think. And reviews and comments on social media are a great way to get that feedback straight from our customers, and help us all to identify ways to improve our offerings.