Negative review? Say the right thing to make things right.

 

If you have a business, the chances are really good you’ve had a negative online review.

It happens. A customer is disappointed, or something incredibly unusual comes up, and everything comes crashing down. No one wants to have to deal with these negative vibes, but these are the times where you can really prove your customer service meddle if you play your cards right.

So, next time you get a bad online review, start by cooling down and then use these phrases liberally:

  • Thank you. After all, you probably didn’t know there was a problem to begin with. Thank you seems like an appropriate point to start at. By thanking your negative reviewer, you’re not only giving them the credit they may deserve for pointing out an unknown problem, you’re acknowledging their issue and telling them that you’re listening.
  • I’m sorry. Sometimes, saying you’re sorry can be the very hardest thing. Those words taste sour in anyone’s mouth, especially if you already feel like you’re being attacked.But, as it turns out, your apology is a shield that can protect you from further negativity from the angry mob. I’m sorry, say it over and over again until it’s second nature, whether you’re sorry that the person is angry or sorry that they’ve had a bad experience.
  • You’re right. The old adage that the customer is always right isn’t always right. However, when you’re dealing with a negative review, you’re in the spotlight. It’s not the time to pick a fight over something petty, instead it’s time to show your diplomatic side and make a deal. If your negative review has a spark of truth, there’s no reason to deny it.
  • How can we make this better? After you’ve thanked, apologized and fully acknowledged that the customer feels there’s a problem, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. What do they want? Are they just screaming to be heard or do they really want a solution to their issue?Sometimes they don’t know what they want, but it’s always important to ask. If you don’t, how will you know what they have in mind? The same goes for those who see that review in the future. They’ll know if the complaint was petty or actually serious when a negative customer gives their response.

When you’re dealing with negative online reviews, the best strategy is to be short, to the point, but not cold or snippy. Instead, be respectful and imagine if you were in the other party’s shoes. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with a company, in that case you know exactly what the customer is feeling. Even if you want to scream defensively “not my business, not ever!” the truth is that there’s no perfect company. Everybody makes mistakes. Owning them is the thing.

If you can’t handle your negative reviews with grace and dignity, the best thing to do is to hire someone to do it for you. This could be a good writer or a business professional who is good with words. Complaints that revolve around appointments or customer service can also be remedied by hiring professional customer service representatives or telephone operators, like the ones you’d expect at an answering service.