Customer reviews often include important feedback about your business. In this video you'll learn how to develop a process for responding to negative reviews. You'll also learn how to respond to customers privately and publicly. The goal is to help the customer if you can and to project a positive image of the business or brand.
- Many business reviews, posted to sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook contain complaints. Sometimes, even four or five-star reviews can call out a specific issue, or contain constructive criticism. When someone complains about your business in a review, it's important to respond. Let's look at a review written for Wadam's Furniture by a customer who isn't happy with their delivery time. The only reason I gave two stars is because their furniture is beautiful and very high quality, but their service sucks.
I ordered a new couch and it took five weeks to arrive. Jumbo Discount Furniture Mart offers same day delivery. Ouch, that's not a very favorable review. So, how should you respond? Keep in mind that you have two goals. First, you want to help the customer if you can. Second, you want to project a positive image to other potential customers who might be reading your response. I've had many customers tell me that they don't trust a business which only has positive reviews.
They're looking for a few negative reviews, because that's what naturally happens. They're also looking to see how the business responds. So, a negative review like this can be a real opportunity. Let's look at how you could respond to a review like this. If possible, you want to do a little investigation first. In some cases, you can identify the customer or get a little information about their situation. This review gives us a few clues. There's the name of the person, the date the review was written, and the customer mentions a couch ordered five weeks earlier.
So, I can look for couch orders from someone named John Smith within that time-frame. In this case, John Smith special-ordered a new couch in a custom fabric. The normal delivery time is four to six weeks, so five weeks is within the normal time-frame. The next step should be to respond in private. Many platforms, like Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Yelp allow you to respond privately to customers who write reviews. If a customer has a complaint, this can be a great way to resolve the problem.
Be sure to check with the specific platform you're using to see whether private messaging is enabled. When responding in private, keep in mind these four principles. Don't argue, be helpful, be the point person, and respond quickly. So, my message to the customer might look like this. I started by thanking the customer and accepting responsibility for the problem, rather than arguing with him. Next, I tried to be helpful by offering free delivery on a future order and providing a link to delivery information.
I also became the point person by adding free delivery to Mr. Smith's account and inviting Mr. Smith to respond to me directly if he needs anything else. Finally, I made sure to respond to the review the very next day. Now, we also want to respond publicly, so other potential customers can see our response. Here, I want to craft a follow-up that's courteous to Mr. Smith, but also helpful to other customers. Here's my public response.
You might notice that my response is very similar to my private response. That saves a little time and also allows me to be consistent. The big part I took out was the offer of free delivery. I don't want to advertise that, because that type of discount should be handled on a case-by-case basis. But, the most important part is this response respectfully makes it clear to future customers that custom orders take four to six weeks and non-custom orders can be delivered the same day.
Okay, now it's your turn. I encourage you to identify some complaints contained in online reviews of your business and use these techniques to respond to your customers.
- Identifying key social media platforms
- Communicating with customers in your brand's voice
- Listening and responding to customers on social media
- Listening to customer feedback on review sites
- Making self-service easy for customers