For service industries like restaurants, dentists, and even agencies like Curve, receiving a negative review can be a setback to your marketing strategy and your trustworthiness as a company.
It might be tempting to just ignore these reviews, but even one unanswered negative review projects a poor image of your business for everyone to see. Think of it from the customer’s point of view. If they see a complaint about your restaurant complaining about sluggish service, terrible food, and expensive prices, they might think twice about coming to visit, even if positive ones surround it, especially if the company makes no effort to respond or fix the situation.
A report in 2013 by Marketing Land showed that 58% of people were more likely to share a negative review compared to five years ago, and you can bet that number has gone up since then.
So how should you deal with it?
1. Respond to the negative review as soon as possible
A quick response shows that you genuinely care about the experience. Don’t leave any negative reviews lingering for too long.
2. Apologize for the bad experience
Even if it wasn’t your fault, apologize. Make sure to personalize this apology (and the whole message) to the individual; don’t just copy and paste the response from a past review. This adds authenticity and shows the reviewer you are respecting them.
3. Thank them for their feedback
Their bad experience might be a one-time occurrence, or it could be a deeper look into a systemic problem. If multiple reviewers are reporting the same issue (long waits, poor service, etc.) then you need to investigate.
4. Let them know you will look into the matter
As always, be as genuine as possible. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming the victim. Instead, look at how you can genuinely use the review to improve your business. Avoid being confrontational or argumentative.
5. Leave a number or an email address and take the discussion offline
Pull the conversation off the review site as soon as possible. If the situation gets messy (the customer remains angry or isn’t satisfied), it would be best for it to happen in private.
The unfortunate thing is that finding and handling negative reviews takes a lot of time and labour.
Curve’s new Online Digital Reputation Management Package automatically identifies and replies to all negative reviews on your behalf.
By Justin Wong