Few things are as soul crushing for a business person than to see the fruits of their hard work slandered on a webpage. Unfortunately, consumers are quick to point out the bad and are typically very loud when they do so. The internet just gives them a bigger megaphone. However, a bad review doesn’t have to kill you. It doesn’t even have to ruin your day. In fact, your operation can get repeat business from negative reviews online. Sound ridiculous? It’s not. Read on to find out how!
Respond Directly to the Complainer
It’s not fair to call all bad review writers complainers, but for the sake of being concise, we’ll call them complainers. As much as it may gall you as a businessperson, you must reach out to the complainers. It shows respect, it shows awareness and it shows that your business is made up of fallible human beings. That’s a good thing these days, and consumers, especially disgruntled ones, like it when they’re acknowledged.
So, acknowledge the complainer personally. Hopefully their review was not left anonymously. Assuming you can contact them, make sure to send a personally written note of apology, explanation and amends. The amends part is incredibly important. If you don’t offer the complainer incentive to give you another shot, chances are they won’t. They might go beyond that and spread even more bad words about your business. Even if it hurts a little, open up and give them a discount.
Respond Publicly to the Complainer’s Complaint
Especially if the complaint was left on a public forum, such as Yelp or your business profile pages, find a way to respond so that other web visitors can see it. This is extremely important. Let’s give your business the benefit of the doubt for once and say that you were right, and the complainer was wrong. Well, that doesn’t matter if you never say anything about it. Even if the complainer is correct in their assessment of your business, it looks even worse if the review is left never addressed.
Save yourself some heartache and sign up for access to post comments in response to negative reviews. Never ever attack your complainer. Instead, apologize, explain the situation and welcome them to come in for another shot. Whether or not you’ve contacted the complainer personally, responding publicly to negative reviews online will show other potential customers that you keep current and are connected with them as patrons.
Launch an Effort to Get Better & Publicize It
This is the most brilliant move to make to get repeat business form negative reviews online. It’s a lot of fun, too. Typically, though, it only works well when your reviews are revealing troubling trends of negativity. Perhaps your counter staff could use some etiquette lessons, or you’re understaffed with impatient customers. Any which way, if the problem is consistent, your business needs to address it. On the plus side, addressing problems in a public way is a great avenue for revenue generation in light of negative reviews online.
For example, we’ll pretend your counter staff is terrible. Well, launch a campaign that lets everyone in your market know that you’re taking steps to rectify the problem. Perhaps you’ve hired new people, or brought in a training manager. Whatever you choose to do, let people know about it. You can do this through your normal online communication avenues. In addition, you can normally do small press releases to your local publications. The bottom line is to get the public aware and invite them to see your progress. When they come in to ‘see your progress’ your cash register should start singing you praises.
Don’t ever let negative reviews online cause you grief and agony. A business can never improve upon what they cannot measure. So, just look at negative reviews online as a metric for success. When you get a bad grade, do something different and get back to earning repeat business.