The Internet can be a harsh space when it comes to feedback. All too often, consumers only choose to voice a negative stance on a service or product, which can lead to an uncomfortable situation for business owners.
So what can you, as a business owner and service provider, do to avoid catastrophe in the public eye when a negative review appears online?
The worst thing to do in the event of a negative review is to ignore it. Your customer has taken their valuable time to highlight something they consider to be an issue and simply setting it aside will aggravate the opinion of the existing customer – and may make potential customers sceptical.
Work Out Why
It is easy to become defensive over your business and service, but it is worth taking a step back, a deep breath, and analysing your customer’s complaint to see if they have a legitimate reason to be aggravated. Understanding and empathising with the customer’s point of view is sometimes the best starting point.
Start a Conversation – Publicly
When beginning to find a resolution, you initially want to avoid making the conversation private. As we mentioned, potential customers may become sceptical if they do not see a response to a negative review.
If the review platform allows, reply directly to the comment. Issue a direct apology through a kind-mannered tone and assure your customer that you will do what you can to solve their predicament. This is a starting point to show that you care about your customers, your services, and the reputation of your business.
Continue It – Privately
Once you have highlighted your interest in resolving a customer’s issue in the public eye, it’s time to try and take it to a private platform such as email, or direct messaging.
Provide the customer with a method of contacting you directly. You don’t want to continue what could be an awkward conversation in front of prying eyes, and discussing an issue privately is likely to offer a faster and more convenient path to a resolution, a happy customer, and an improved reputation.
Take it Public Again to Conclude the Matter
Providing you have rectified the initial problem, return to the original review and offer a comment in response indicating that both parties have resolved the issue.
With this, you have avoided a lengthy conversation through a public channel, settled the problem privately, and highlighted your ability to work with customers.
Even if you managed to find a resolution with your customer, there is still a chance that they will be left with a bad taste from your service if they felt the need to leave a negative review in the first place.
Following up with the customer in a spontaneous manner will show just how much you value their time and business. It may not only avoid the loss of a customer, but you can be certain that you have concluded communication with said customer by doing everything possible to regain their confidence.