Almost every business will get negative feedback online at one time or another. Some industries attract it more than others. Unhappy customers are more likely to leave negative feedback on your social media than they are to tell you in person. Overcoming negative feedback can make or break your ability to acquire new customers. If however, you do have negative feedback it’s not all bad news. Here are some tips on how to handle it.
1. Always respond to your reviews and feedback, whether they are negative or positive. If you have negative reviews on your Facebook page for instance, and you fail to respond, the person that left the feedback may go to other platforms that you don’t monitor to complain. This is why it’s good to use Google Alerts. It also doesn’t look professional if you fail to respond in a timely manner, even more so if you don’t respond at all.
2. Acknowledge the complaint and paraphrase it back to customer. This will often go a long way in resolving the complaint. For example “We’re sorry that it took an hour to answer the phone” shows that you understand their grievance and that you are willing to take responsibility for it.
3. Never publicly argue with a customer, as this always looks unprofessional. More often than not the customers comments can be seen by their friends and if you openly argue with them they may join in leaving negative feedback. Instead, publicly and politely acknowledge their complaint and aim to move the discussion to a private means of communication such as direct/private messaging or phone.
4. Try to bring the complaint offline. Allow the customer to call you directly so you may negotiate a resolution privately. Apologize for the poor service they may have received. “We’re sorry you had this experience, please contact us on 12345678 so we can resolve this issue for you”.
5. Say something positive about your business when resolving the complaint. “We’ve been in business for 5 years and this has never happened before. We’re truly sorry“.
6. Resolve the complaint even if it costs you. When new customers are researching your business online by reading the reviews this may gain confidence in your brand. It may also result in the complaint being removed. Whatever it takes you to resolve a complaint can be an investment in your business.
Using Google Alerts to track any mentions of your brand on the Internet may help you intercept complaints on platforms you wouldn’t normally monitor. When you respond promptly it brings confidence and trust to your brand and looks professional.