Things rarely go completely smoothly in the world of business. You might be doing everything right, hitting all the high notes and you’re still going to get the odd negative review.
It can be disappointing to read that a customer didn’t enjoy their experience with your business, but it’s important to remember one thing – no matter what you do, and no matter how hard you try, it’s not possible to please everyone! There will always be someone who wants more than you gave, and whilst it’s important to try and manage expectations, sometimes it just can’t be done.
It’s even more disappointing and somewhat concerning when you have more than one negative review. If these are left on your social media pages, there is very little you can do about removing them, and aside from anything else – customers are allowed their opinions. However, it can be damaging for business for negative reviews to be posted on social media pages. The reason is because people read this and make up their minds about doing business with you; in that case they might decide not to go ahead, based on what they’ve read. Nobody really ever takes into account the fact that there may be circumstances around the review that aren’t being shared; it’s human nature to take negative reviews at face value.
Let’s be honest, how many times have you looked at reviews of a particular company before deciding whether to work with them or not? Probably several times in the past and it’s no doubt clouded your judgement of a certain company if you noticed negative reviews. For that reason, you need to take action when you see several reviews of this type on your social media platforms. However, don’t despair! It’s not that difficult to save your social media marketing plan from disaster!
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How to Deal With Negative Online Reviews
The following points will help you overcome the negative effects of poor reviews on your social media platforms.
Respond to Negative Reviews
If you can, it’s a good idea to respond to every review, even if it’s just a ‘like’ or a ‘thank you’, however negative reviews require more action in general. When you see a negative review, don’t just put it down to experience – respond to it quickly and take action.
Reply to the review so that everyone can see that you have done so, simply commenting below it. Apologize for their poor experience and ask if you can do anything to help or whether you can discuss the issue further to iron out any problems. This shows that you care about the way your business is perceived and is a very useful damage limitation exercise.
Always be Polite, Regardless of What You Really Think!
Customer service on any level follows the same set of rules – bite your tongue and be polite! Even if you don’t agree with the comments you need to respect them and look for a learning opportunity within them. Be polite and again, this will show to other people who are reading the record on your social media platform, allowing you to shine through as a professional business who cares about the experiences their customers are having. On top of that, you should also do your own research when you’re the customer to make sure that if there are any negative reviews about a product or business, you’re asking those questions and making sure that they’re being answered before you spend your money. You should check out online academy review to find negative reviews and how business owners have responded to them and resolved them.
It may also be that the customer has a point! You may be doing something wrong, so don’t simply push their comments aside, say “sorry” and don’t do anything about it, always look for learning curves and think about what you can do to avoid this same comment from appearing again.
Discuss The Issue Privately
Once you’ve acknowledged the negative review publicly, i.e. having replied to the social media comment, reach out to the customer directly and discuss it privately. This will ensure that you can really get to the bottom of what’s happened and why they’re not happy. You can ask for the order number or any other information which cannot be posted on a public forum. This will also help the customer concerned feel that you’re doing something about the problem and not simply pushing it to one side with a quick apology, to make yourself look good.
If you want to ensure that the whole process is transparent, you can then post a general version of the outcome on your social media, via the comment you made in the first place. This shows that the issue has been resolved and everyone is happy. Again, it looks good and saves your social media from being a total washout.
Keep an Eye Out For Troublesome Reviews
There are genuine negative reviews, e.g. when a customer isn’t happy with something, and there are fake reviews, or reviews which are intentionally made to cause trouble. You can ask for these to be removed and you need to be on the lookout for these, however don’t simply ask for every negative review to be removed as this isn’t going to look good on you either!
Make it Known That You Encourage Honest Reviews
By asking for honest reviews from your customers you’re showing that you’re keen to learn. Mention that you would like them to leave a review if they have the time and to give an honest account of their experience with you. Then, look for information you can use to learn. Don’t try and influence your customers by asking them to leave five star reviews, instead ask for honesty and hopefully, if the rest of your service is high quality, you’ll get a good review posted on your social media for everyone to see.
Track Negative Reviews on Review Sites
Of course, it’s not only social media where you might have negative reviews popping up, so it’s a good idea to set up a Google alert so you get a notification whenever your business is mentioned. You can then check things out and see if any action needs to be taken, i.e. the steps above. This will help you to stay on top of any reviews that you need to address and shows that you care about the way you’re being perceived by your customers, both current and potential.
Negative reviews happen, it’s part of business life. However, you need to do whatever you can to salvage the situation and not simply allow the situation to spiral out of control. How you are perceived by the outside world matters more than ever before in this digital age.