Update: This blog post inspired a podcast episode. Listen Here
Imagine yourself sitting there working. You’re in a happy mood and you’re getting things done! You’re busy, your staff is busy and you’re feeling like it’s a Friday afternoon. You go to check your email and you see a notification that someone has left you a one star review on Google and your stomach drops. No one wants to get pinged with a bad review on Google or Facebook or fill-in-the-blank. It can make a good day bad and a bad day worse.
But, the truth of the matter is that in today’s world the internet is something we love to love - and we also love to hate. It can be a great tool, and it can be a very frustrating tool. It is not easy to keep a pulse on how your customers feel, it takes work and a lot of time. So, what do you do when you get the notification that you’ve received a bad review? Someone posted a negative statement online for the world to see. It’s not fun. It feels terrible, like someone stabbed you in the stomach. You feel embarrassed, shocked and ashamed.
I hope that this post gives you the tips you need to respond like a boss, a pro, a human.
Take a step back. Inhale, deeply. Walk away for a few moments or even an hour or so. Do not reply while you are angry. That is never good and it will only make matters worse.
Think. Process this review not only from your perspective but also from your client’s perspective. There are ALWAYS two sides to every story. Maybe they don’t have the entire story and maybe, just maybe, you don’t have the entire story. It is possible, that you may need to do some research and talk to your staff (everyone involved). Sit back and ponder what perspective you might be missing and try to see the situation from your customer’s standpoint. I’m not saying they’re right - I’m just saying that there might be more for you to know. :) #breathe #research #think
Never (yes, I said never) reply defensively. Always remain cool, calm and collected. People are reading how you respond and determining if they want to work with you, hire you, or use your product or services. When possible, take this review process to the phone. Be personal. If you know your customers phone number, give them a call and try to handle the situation together offline. When it is handled, kindly ask your customer if they would consider revising their review. Would your momma be proud of how you are replying?
I want to encourage you to realize that when you reply to this negative review, it is most likely not to regain that customer. Do you want and hope that this relationship is rekindled? YES! Of course, but for the most part, your response is for the rest of the world. What do you want the world to see? A defensive, hot-headed person or someone who cares and is compassionate? People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Be that person.
My last tip for you, for today, is to reply and walk away. It’s okay to look back and to see if your customer replied, but it’s usually best to reply to the review and leave it at that. Do not get into a back and forth negative confrontation. That is certainly negative and not what you want the world to see of you.
A few bonus points:
- Use your reviews for staff training. Often times you can see a trend or a common thread. Is the person who answers the phone in your office rude? Are your staff members always late to do the job? Is your facility kept in poor condition? What are your customer reviews teaching you? Are you doing something about that?
- Even if the reviews are positive - respond! Tell people thank you. Also, don’t use the same generic thank you message every time. Customize it as much as you can!
- Claim your Google My Business listing, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Home Advisor, etc and be sure to respond to reviews as they come in.
Review management can be a bear. It’s not always fun, but it can be rewarding when handled correctly. We love using programs that make this process less painful and more efficient. If you are interested in having someone manage your reviews for you, we have a plan and a process in place that takes this burden off of your plate. Give us a call today at 985-662-8419 to discuss our review management services.