With the onslaught of social media, most businesses can expect to receive a few bad reviews and customer complaints. Whether on your Yelp page, Facebook fan page or direct (website or email), you will have to deal with an unhappy customer, regardless of the business you’re in. But, no matter how bad it looks (and feels), don’t despair. There are things you can do to maintain your company’s reputation and come out better on the other side.
Before we begin, remember the end goal of this is to show your customers and readers that your business is genuinely concerned about customer experience and that you listen to your customers. If they update, change or delete the review, that’s a bonus, but it’s not the goal. Addressing your customer’s concern and creating positive customer experiences is.
So, let’s talk about how to handle bad reviews and customer complaints.
The first thing to do decide if you need to respond to the review. All negative reviews don’t need a response. Some are simply minor complaints or so outlandish that you won’t be able to fix or respond. In today’s world, you’re going to get the wannabe comedian, the person who hates life and always complains about everything or the person with a twisted version of the facts that you will never understand. In cases like these, the best response may be no response. Most people will see it for what it is and it won’t be a factor.
When you get a review that goes down a list of reasons and minute details of their experience, it may be a good idea to address it, either directly through personal contact or publicly in a reply.
If you’ve decided to respond, here are some things to consider:
- Gather the facts. Look into the complaint and see what happened. Talk to staff involved, check footage, review paperwork, etc. and jot down notes to determine what went down in their interaction with your company.
- Collect your thoughts. This is not the time to let your emotions get the best of you. Don’t respond out of anger, defensiveness or impulse. Stay levelheaded and remember the issue is not proving them wrong or being right. It’s about helping a disappointed customer and not letting their experience affect future purchases.
- Thank the person. While you don’t have to thank them for a bad review, you can thank them for being a customer or for bringing this matter to your attention. A sincere thanks goes a long way towards calming an angry person.
- Take responsibility. Again, being right is not the goal. Whether you are guilty of what they reported or not, you are representing your company and your brand. Don’t try to defend yourself or anyone else, as getting defensive will surely rub the person the wrong way. Never get personal, and take responsibility for their bad experience.
- Address legitimate concerns. If the bad review exposed deficiencies in your practices, address them and let the person know that you are taking measures to take care of the situation. Many times there are lessons to be learned in situations. If there is a lesson to be learned from a bad review, learn it and strive to do better.
- If appropriate, make the customer an offer. Depending on the situation, you may be able to offer the customer something for their trouble. Maybe there’s a product or service you can provide for free or at a discount. Get creative. Each company and situation is unique, so use your strengths. You can come up with something different that can not only leave the customer impressed, you will impress future customers.
- Follow up. If you promised to do something or made other arrangements, follow up with the customer to see how it went. Contact them to see if the arrangement, solution or token of appreciation worked properly. Always walk the talk and do what you promised.
Show Your Customers You Care
At the end of the day, a bad review or customer complaint may never go away. However, even a bad reviewer can provide your company with word-of-mouth referrals, future business or even an updated review if you handle it properly. Even if these things don’t happen, at least your business goes on record as one that cares about its customer experience.
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In addition, we can show you what a chat agent would look like on your site. Simply complete the form below and we’ll send you a link. We can even add your logo to the chat agent so it brands your company. You have nothing to lose!