We all want to be a 5 star business but unfortunately there will always be the unhappy customer. More than 80% of customer’s look up a business online before they go there. A bad review may leave you feeling like people are attacking your business and there is nothing you can do, but this is far from the truth. There are ways to help maintain your businesses image and restore potential customers faith in your company. We have put together the top steps to take when responding to a bad review online so if this ever happens to you, you know exactly what to do.
We also want to point out that the same strategies can be used for Email Complaints. Email complaints are always tricky to deal with, as online correspondence can be easily misread and misinterpreted. Unlike with face to face and telephone complaints, you can’t use body language or tone of voice to interpret the customer’s words and convey your own message. Dealing effectively with angry email complaints requires extra measures to be taken in order to reduce the possibility of misunderstandings.
Read the customer’s review or message several times to ensure that you understand what the customer is saying. Make a note of the issues raised in the message and try to determine what the main problem is. If you are unsure or need extra information about the customer’s concerns, make a note of questions to ask in your response. If you are not aware of the specific situation the customer is describing be sure to quickly investigate and find out the details from your employees.
Always Respond and Respond Quickly
Bad reviews can impact you business quickly and waiting for weeks or months to respond will look bad to potential customers searching out your business. If the complaint is via a review on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc be sure to respond as soon as possible and not let a lot of time lapse Try to respond within 24 hours. With email complaints unhappy customers are easily irritated by slow response times, so it’s important to reply to their message promptly. If you need extra time to look into the matter, post or send an initial message to let them know that you are dealing with their complaint and will get back to them as soon as possible. You can always edit the response on Google Reviews later or send an additional comment on Facebook Reviews. You can also use this initial message to request any additional information you need form the customer. Responding quickly also may help you turn the situation around! If it does, don’t be shy about asking the customer to update their review and post their feelings about how you handled the situation.
Beginning your Reply
Always start your response by addressing the customer by name and thanking them for letting you know about their experience. Let them know that you appreciate the time they have taken to bring the matter to your attention. Use empathy and acknowledge the customer’s concerns by summarizing or paraphrasing the points raised in their message, as it’s important to show that you have listened and understood the problem.
Apologise for any distress the customer feels and take responsibility for finding a suitable resolution. Taking responsibility and apologising doesn’t mean accepting liability, it simply means being responsible for successfully resolving the problem. If appropriate, explain why the problems have occurred, but avoid making excuses and above all do not get defensive. With online reviews, this will also show other potential customers that while no one is perfect, if a valid problem occurs that you are willing to take responsibility.
If the customer requires a refund, compensation or another action to be taken, provide a clear explanation of the steps you are going to take to meet their requirements. Good will gestures, such as money-off vouchers, discounts or free gifts can also go a long way towards repairing the current customer & future customer’s confidence in your business.
Before Sending the Message
Before sending your response, always proofread it to check for spelling mistakes, grammar problems and possible misunderstandings. Take out any words or phrases that have double meanings and could be misinterpreted. Remember to include your name, title and contact details at the end of the message and let them know they are welcome to contact you again.
Don’t forget to also respond to positive feedback! Google recommends that for every review you receive you should respond! And if possible be personal. Don’t say the same thing every time but change it up. If the review is from a frequent flyer feel free to mention that you appreciate their loyalty to your business. A response shows you are actively engaged in your customers satisfaction and that you care.
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