Managing Negative Customer Reviews
You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
A business can produce the best products and offer unmatched customer service and STILL fall victim to negative customer reviews. But companies must realize that people will be people. They will have bad days. Products will malfunction or break. Things will fall apart – sometimes. People will continue to talk about businesses when something isn’t right. In fact, ranting happens far more often than raving.
To manage the avalanche of negativity, here are some tips to consider.
In an undesirable situation, time is not on your side. The longer you wait to respond to negative customer reviews, the angrier the customer may get, and the more likely he or she will spout off even more bad things about the company. Be sure to monitor your social media channels. Look for comments about bad experiences or poor service. Pay attention to what people are saying!
Be sure to monitor your social media channels. Look for comments about bad experiences or poor service. Pay attention to what people are saying!
Choose When to Respond
Some negative comments aren’t worth your time. In fact, some comments are so insignificant and so unnoticed that replying can actually backfire and bring unwanted attention. As well, if a comment is written poorly, online communication may not be the best option. Be ready to choose your battles. You don’t have to comment on every undesirable thought, and you don’t have to publicly address every concern.
People can read through false niceties – even online. So if you choose to respond to an upset customer online, show empathy, chat in a friendly tone, and offer to address the problem. The customer might already have a solution in mind; they’re just waiting for you to get involved. Or, the customer may just want to know that someone is really listening to him/her. In those cases, just showing interest in the situation makes a big difference and can quickly and easily diffuse a potential blow-up.
Use Negatives as Opportunities
No matter what has been said, remember that negative reviews can be an opportunity to reach out and turn a critic into a potential advocate for your brand. A simple act of thoughtful, personalized customer service shared via social media channels can often do this. Nobody reads the private email where you made a sincere apology. Customers can’t listen to the phone conversation in which you politely explain why the situation happened in the first place. But when you make amends online, in public, you can earn word of mouth. And you may turn an irritable rant into a valuable rave.