"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” – spoken by poet, John Lydgate and later adapted by Abraham Lincoln. This quote has never been more clear, especially in a market that is increasingly driven by the internet’s widening reach. We live in a world where everybody has a voice. Your customers can talk, take pictures, interact with others, and creative positive or negative buzz about their experiences with your business and worst of all, it isn’t necessarily true. People are checking out Yelp, Angie’s List, Google reviews, and places like Yahoo Local Listings for information and reviews. And from time to time, your business will get a negative review.
But that is no reason to panic. An occasional negative review will actually make your profile look more realistic. When a customer takes the time to give you a not-so-flattering review, that is your opportunity turn the negativity around and improve customer care. Your next steps are key to retaining not only the business of the angry customer, but the business of other fans who like your page as well.
Here are 4 Ways to Handle Bad Online Reviews
1. As tempting as it may be to delete the review and ignore it, that is not the way to go. You want to respond to a negative review online. You will need to start by restating the complaint. Your customer is annoyed and when people are upset, they first want to know that they were heard. Do not give any excuses. Your first reaction is to give a reason why. Instead, say something like, “this was uncharacteristic of us and we would like to make it right."
2. Take action and get to the bottom of why the mistake occurred, without blaming anyone. Resolve the issue quickly, or make sure that your employees are empowered to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer: “what can I do to make this right?” Regardless of who is right or wrong, resolve the issue in a way that makes the customer whole. Whatever price you have to pay, it’s a way to show potential customers that your business values people.
3. If you can’t make it right, acknowledge it. It’s not always possible to “fix it” for the customer. Even if you can’t make it up to the customer, for whatever reason, at least try to publicly acknowledge it, apologize for his or her experience, and promise to review your policies or to do better in the future.
4. Don’t take it personal. Your business might not be a good fit for the customer and that is not a bad thing. It’s important to remember that you can’t be all things to all people and that not every client will be the perfect fit for your business.
Businesses screw up. It happens. But when it happens, an interesting opportunity opens up: if you recover from the mistake well, you can actually build a stronger relationship with the customer than you had before. If you’re prepared, you have nothing to worry about – your online reputation will be just fine.