Approach to negative reviews and comments

Today, it`s extremely easy to leave a review or comment on someone’s business or product. Various platforms have allowed the audience to express their opinions anytime. Some of them are Facebook, Instagram, Google, Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc.

Many people rely on reviews that will eventually influence their spending habits, purchase plans or simply forming an opinion about a particular brand.

Sometimes we make mistakes and this is reflected in the comments, but we must also be prepared for situations in which we receive a negative comment unprovoked.

Either way, consumer comments are of essential importance and greatly influence a company’s branding, sales, reputation and market position.

Even if you do your best and make no mistakes, you can never please everyone. At some point, a bad review will pop up and you need to be ready to tackle it.

1. Keep you cool and don’t take it personally

Before you respond, think twice. Whatever the review says, you have to have a professional approach and you cannot let it get to you. Even if the mistake is yours.

Everyone makes mistakes and so can you. Do not get frustrated, mad, angry or scared. Stay calm and invest your energy in possible solutions.

If the customer is to blame, do the same. Focus on solutions instead of your feelings.

2. Mandatory response

Now that you are ready to respond, think twice again. The response is mandatory and whatever you decide to write, it will be visible to other people, so it will affect your brand as much as the review. You have the power to use your response to fix a situation or make it worse. Choose wisely.

Do not wait too long to reply because the longer you wait the bigger the damage. Leaving a bad review without a response for too long will reflect badly on your customer care. Keep your answer brief and on point.

3. Express apology and empathy

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What kind of response you would like to receive? Apologetic and sincere. Remember, you have to make the situation easier, not worse.

Whatever the issue is, start your comment with an apology. In this way, you establish and strengthen trust between a brand and a customer.

Provide a brief statement about the problem in an empathic manner. Try not to criticize or get defensive. Do not use a template. Make the comment seem personal so that the person feels appreciated.

Speaking of the end of the response, conclude the comment in one of two ways:
– with room for further discussion whether it is about a positive outcome or additional resolution of the problem.
– try not to leave room for a follow-up question if not necessary.

Apply one of the two options you think will reflect better on your brand.

4. Take responsibility

Many things can go wrong and if you are dealing with a negative review, something probably did. And that is ok. Now you have to take responsibility for what went wrong. It could have been a bad day, delivery damage, miscommunication, an accident… Act on it! Do not get defensive and keep your standards high. Also, avoid criticism, disapproval or judgment as it will only stir up the fire you should actually put out.

Always keep in mind that your answer will be analyzed by other customers as much as the review.

5. Resolve the issue one on one

If the problem is big and requires further discussion, do not do it publicly. Provide a communication channel in which you will have privacy with the customer. Save yourself or the customer from further embarrassment and do not allow people who have nothing to do with the situation to get involved in the conversation. You can provide a phone number of an e-mail to continue resolving the problem away from the public eye.

6. Offer compensation

Offering compensation is like asking for a second chance. One negative experience is not the end of the road for the customer. If they took time to write a negative review or comment, from their point of view, they either lost time or money. You can try to make it up by offering a discount on the next service, a gift, a supplementary product or anything else you think will make them feel amazed by customer service.

This is a chance to turn a negative experience with a product or service into a positive experience with customer service worth praising.

7. Discuss with your team and take as an example for growth

Depending on the seriousness of the issue, organize a meeting with your team and see what you can learn from this experience. Use it to identify and fix or prevent potential flaws in your company. It’s human to make mistakes and it can happen to everyone. Just keep in mind that what happens afterward, reflects your brand image, the character, personality and philosophy you follow.

Photo: Pexels (Liza Summer)