I discussed in a recent article how to get good reviews, if you missed it, you can catch up on it here We briefly touched on dealing with negative reviews but in this article, I am going to focus on the bad or negative reviews.
I will discuss:
- How to view them
- How to avoid bad reviews
- How to learn from bad reviews
- How to respond to bad/negative reviews
You’ve worked hard to build up your reputation and brand in your market. You’ve got some amazing reviews online and then, all of a sudden, someone posts something negative.
There’s nothing more painful than a bad review and, although you may have plenty of good ones, the bad one will stand out like a sore thumb. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, as you’ll never please every single client – some jobs will go wrong.
The danger arises if you start noticing poor reviews on a frequent basis.
As you expand, the personal service you once offered will inevitably be affected.
At first, your clients know you and only you, but as the business grows, you may become faceless. Your client only knows your company and feels no loyalty to you as an individual.
Once the personal aspect has gone from the service offering, clients are less likely to put up with minor annoyances. You may have got away with these previously, as clients tend to overlook issues when dealing with an individual, but now you’re a faceless company they will feel they have a right to, at best, have a moan if things go wrong, or at worst, compensation or a scathing review.
It’s important to recognise that this is the reality if you are going to scale up, so it’s imperative you keep your personal brand at the head of the business.
One way to do this is to create and publish plenty of online blogs and vlogs so clients still know who you are.
Visit a client’s project now and then, on a random basis. This means a lot to your client and shows that you take a personal interest.
Sam Walton, the owner of Walmart, was declared the richest man in America in 1985. He insisted on regularly visiting his stores and getting down to the storefront, promoting goods himself. He loved it; the business was his baby. More importantly, though, he was ensuring he didn’t become a faceless company. People would see him, staff and customers, and he gave the impression that he genuinely cared about his business. He could have sat in a large office all day, but he ensured at least some of his time was spent on the shop floor.
Do the same with your business even as you expand, and note that it goes a long way.
Doing this will ensure you’re able to monitor the service you are giving to clients – you’ll be able to see it first-hand. If you notice things going wrong, or the service becoming poor, you can act quickly before the reviews are posted.
The other thing to bear in mind is your reaction when a bad review appears.
First, don’t overreact in anger. Often, you’ll want to reply immediately to defend yourself or ‘have a go’ back. But take your time and calm down before you respond, and then keep it professional.
Apologise and acknowledge your client’s feelings and let them know that you’re looking into how to improve that area of the business. End your response positively, without making it look like you are dismissing the complaint. When potential clients see a response like this, they can sense you genuinely care, which can help with future sales.
Replying to a Bad Review
Here’s a great example of a reply to a bad review:
‘Dear [use first name to be more personal]. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. I apologise on behalf of everyone here at [insert company name]. Please know that your situation was an exception. As you can see from our other reviews, we care deeply about our customers and strive to deliver an outstanding service. We can’t fix the past but you have my personal commitment to improve the way our staff serves every customer. Until then, please accept my sincerest apologies on behalf of everyone on the team.’
Don’t let the bad review knock you too much. Remember, it’s just an obstacle in the road, one that you can easily get around. Learn from it, use it as an opportunity to improve and then keep travelling towards your destination.
Whilst you don’t want to ponder and wallow too much in negative review do a mini investigation into each and every negative review or complaint. Ask yourself:
Could this have been prevented?
Does the customer have a point?
How would I feel if I was in their shoes?
What should we have done differently?
And the most important one
- What process can we add in our procedure to ensure this does not happen again?
As you expand your business, there will be teething problems and sometimes service can slip, so keep on top of it. If you do start to receive some negative reviews, learn from them, deal with them in the right way and make the relevant changes so that your business remains ahead of the game.