They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this couldn’t be more true with online reviews. It’s nearly impossible to please everyone all the time, so expect to receive negative reviews and prepare a code of conduct for how you want to respond to any that may appear. One of the worst things that your clients can find online are negative reviews that have not been responded to. Thus, try to constantly be scanning various review outlets to find any negative reviews, respond to them timely, and nip the problem in the bud. There are many tools out there, such a Trackur or Brandwatch that provide social media monitoring features that can help your scanning efforts.
Negative reviews may seem scary at first, but they are not always a bad thing. Negative reviews are opportunities to improve your business model, engage with your customers, and effectively improve client’s view of your company if responded to properly. You must look at client reviews and the subsequent changes in business as an iterative process that involves: apologizing, offering, following up, and improving.
First and foremost, even if you’re in the right, apologize. There’s not a single benefit in picking a fight online. Simply put, brands that engage in online bickerings come off as unprofessional, childish, and downright rude. Not to mention, any potential client is going to side with the customer review and not with the business. So, it’s best to suck up your pride and offer your sincere apologies right off the bat.
After you’ve apologized for their bad experience, it’s best practice to offer a solution to the problem somehow. For instance, if a client is unhappy with the contract that you drafted up, offer an edit, or even an entire new document free-of-charge. Often, if the reviewer accepts your offer, they will remove their negative review of your company. Even if they do not accept, your offer will bode well with anyone who checks out the review in the future.
Don’t just respond to this reviewer once and wash your hands of the whole situation though, be sure that you follow-up with them as well. Time heals most wounds, and as long as you show that you genuinely care about the satisfaction of your clients, and more specifically, the negative reviewer personally, they will most likely rescind their scathing criticism.
Lastly, fix the problem! Take every review as a data point for business improvement. If there’s a problem so big that someone takes time out of their day to let you know about it, that problems is most likely affecting other customers as well. The client review process is iterative, so constantly be looking at reviews for possible ways to improve. A good way to look at it is your customer is the most valuable business consultant available to you, so be sure to listen to their advice!