We live in a digital age, where the majority of people turn to the internet to share their experiences – both positive and negative. Being on the receiving end of a nasty online review is never fun, but if you plan on being in business for any amount of time, chances are it’ll happen to you at some point (if it hasn’t already). You simply can’t keep everyone happy all the time. How you respond to these negative comments will make all the difference.
Be prompt. The quicker you respond to a negative online review, the better. This demonstrates that you’re listening, you care and you want to right the wrong that’s occurred. Set up a Google alert so you receive a notice every time your brand is mentioned online and closely monitor your social media accounts.
Be penitent. Even if you think the commenter is wrong, the first thing you should always do is apologize. In many cases, simply acknowledging that the customer had what they feel was a bad experience and saying you’re sorry is enough to put the fire out.
Be positive. As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to argue or lash out defensively. Instead, focus on crafting a response that is positive. For instance, thank the commenter for bringing the issue to your attention and let them know you want to fix it.
Present a solution. Just as issuing an apology is a must, presenting a solution for resolving the situation is equally important. Not only does this show the unhappy customer that you take their concern serious, but it also demonstrates your promptness and willingness to correct problems to any prospective clients who may come across the interaction in the future. So, it’s a win-win.
Be proactive. Should the situation start getting out of hand, offer to take the conversation offline by providing an email address or phone number for the commenter to contact you directly. This can help you avoid making any nasty disputes public knowledge.
Nobody likes to see negative things written about their business, but these things happen. By applying the above techniques to your responses, you’ll be able to turn negative experiences into positive opportunities more often than not.