Consumers today have multiple outlets to share their unhappy experiences. And once negative customer feedback is on the internet, anyone can view that negative comment.
We’ve all heard the old saying that a happy customer will tell one person, while an angry customer will tell 10. Seeing angry comments on Facebook or bad reviews on Yelp can make a business owner feel attacked and even helpless to remedy the situation. But there are a few things you can do to soften the harsh blows of negative feedback.
Implement these 3 tips for handling negative customer feedback about your business, and your social presence is sure to shine.
1. Don’t ignore them.
While you may want to roll your eyes and assume that the criticism will eventually fade away, resist the temptation. People pay as much attention to your response to a negative comment as they do the comment itself.
Even something simple is better than staying silent: “Your experience is definitely not what we intended. Please give us a call at 1-800-555-5555 so we can help fix the situation!”
At that point, you’ve opened up lines of communication – a vital first step in thwarting a potential “comment war.” Those viewing the commentary can see that you’ve made an attempt to remedy the issue rather than sweep it under the rug.
2. Swallow your pride.
No one likes to be criticized, and human beings are wired to shut down when we are told we did something wrong. But we all make mistakes and it’s important to show that you’re willing to admit to yours.
If it’s something you truly did wrong, suck it up, say you’re sorry and make it right. Offering a gift certificate for a free product or service can go a long way. Odds are, your customer will forgive you and happily give your business a second chance. They may even come back and leave you one of those elusive positive reviews!
Even if the negative comment is not about a mistake you made…
- Still reach out
- Make an offer if appropriate
- Have standards for escalating complaints (for instance, define what offers/responses are appropriate to different types of problems)
3. Truly listen.
If you’re too preoccupied by the fact that someone left a negative comment, you could be missing out on important feedback from your customers. If you’ve heard the same type of complaint from several people, it’s likely that many others are feeling the same way. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and actively listen to what they are saying. Sometimes simply listening is enough, as your customer just wants to feel heard.
Let’s say they’re upset about your new cancellation policy. It doesn’t mean you should change your policy, but you shouldn’t discredit their thoughts. On the other hand, if several people are pointing out a critical flaw in your service or product, it could lead to valuable returns if you tweak it based on their feedback.
Negative customer feedback is one of the most unpleasant parts of running a business. But using these best practices for managing your online reputation can help turn a bad situation around! Remember, you won’t be able to make everyone happy, but you can do your best to leave a good impression.
Want some help managing your online reputation? Contact us today to see how we can help with everything from responding to reviews to writing and publishing social media content!