The perception of your company among the customers is one of the most important things determining the firm's integrity and values. In such a scenario, the reachability of a bad review can be manifold when compared to positive reviews. It is widely known among entrepreneurs that while a happy customer talks about your company to 3 people, a disappointed one can talk about it to at least 15 people.
With the platforms of sharing reviews going online, these numbers now extend over hundreds of millions. Hence it is crucial to address negative reviews in an appropriate manner to ensure that they don't hamper your organisation's image in any way.
An appropriate handling of negative reviews can compensate for the damage that is inflicted by a negative review. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind and practice while responding to negative customer reviews.
Apologising is the key
In the case of many reviews, you may feel that the customer is being unreasonable and unaware of the reality. No matter what the issue is, it is important that you begin by apologising for the difficulties that the customer faced for the sake of your future customers.
You can start your response by stating that “we are extremely sorry that we didn't reach up to your expectations”, or “we are so sorry to hear that” et cetera.
Addressing the Customer
As automation and bot responses became more common, personalised responses became very important to ensure authenticity and maintain excellent customer relationships. Addressing the customer by name will make them feel that their concerns are not answered by a robot but by people who are genuinely willing to cater to their issues.
Acknowledge their Concerns
This is one of the most important parts of handling negative reviews. No matter what their concerns are, acknowledge their issue and empathise with them. Let them know that you are with them. This will give the person who wrote the review and the customers who will read the reviews in future a deep sense of confidence in you.
You can use sentences like “We understand how bad you must have felt” etc.
Assurance is of Utmost Importance
In most of the cases acknowledging and apologising for the unpleasant experiences of the customer is not enough. It is important to assure them that you are working on the issue and are sure that the issue will not happen again.
While you make this promise to the customer, ensure that you are doing the needful to practice what you promise. Such an assurance aids not only the customer but also ensure the improvement of the firm. It will also help you look into the issues that you would never have gone through, like the behaviour of the staff, delays in shipment, discrepancies in packaging et cetera.
You can tell the person something like this “We have contacted the store manager to look into the issue”, “We have asked for a detailed investigation on the issue” and so on.
You should be able to analyse the issues of the customer and offer them deserving compensation. This compensation is also a form of asking the customer for a second chance.
While such a favour or a return gift can give you a good image, it is also an excellent method to retain a disappointed customer. This compensation can be in the form of a refund, replacement, discount, free shipping, et cetera, depending on the nature of your business. You only need to offer such compensation if the issue is not fixable.
You cannot help a person whose problem is not related to their experience but themselves. If somebody has decided to hate your firm you cannot do anything about it.
You must be able to identify such cases and let them be. If necessary, you may acknowledge or even apologise for it without even bothering any further action. This is an essential yet difficult thing to do. Always remember that the most important thing is to focus on positive reviews and improve with the negative ones.
Customers are the most important component that drives your business forward. Their experiences should be of utmost importance to you, and hence the firm should continue to work on enhancing the experiences of valuable customers. It will also be beneficial if you have multiple customer satisfaction metrics which you can use depending on the issues of the people.
After you acknowledge, address and solve the issue, you may even ask the person who put up the review to take them down. Always remember that gracefulness and empathy are the most important tools you have to use while handling negative reviews.
Should you respond to negative Google reviews?
Yes, you should respond to negative reviews publicly as it shows your customers that you are attentive.
Can you review on Google anonymously?
No, Google does not allow to review anonymously.
Does Google remove negative reviews?
Google only removes reviews that violates its policy.