So you opened your email and you got a bad review on Google or Facebook or Yelp or anywhere else.
The key to handling this successfully is not to Panic or get angry but to stay in complete control. I could tell you stories about office furniture being thrown and angry phone calls but, those don't work. :-)
We work really hard as business owners to put our time and effort into the company that we built from the ground up and one day some crabby person that probably isn't being reasonable besides to put a negative review out there letting the world know all about there oftentimes very temporary opinion. Depending on how many reviews you have, one negative review can taint your ratings.
There is help!
There are ways to work this system to your advantage to maintain your online reputation and credibility. I recommend you take the following steps.
Don’t get angry
Evaluate and Learn
Solve the situation with the customer
Stay on top of your reviews
One. Don't respond negatively to a negative review
A one or two star or even a fraudulent review may spur you to actions that you may later regret. Don't give into the temptation. A bad review is not even close to being the end of the world. Every company has gotten a bad review and I find it very helpful to do what I'm going to tell you in the next section.
Two. Evaluate and learn
You need to look at this situation objectively. Is the review real? Did something break in your process? Is it legitimate?
If the review is fraudulent and we see this quite a bit, make sure you flag the review for removal. There is usually an opportunity to do so. However do not do this if the review is legitimate as it will only hurt your credibility with Google or Facebook or Yelp or other services.
If the review is legitimate Then I highly recommend you do something that is probably opposite of what you're thinking. Celebrate. Enjoy the fact that somebody found a chink in your armor.Companies like human beings do not learn from always being correct. We learn from adversity and we learn from our failures. Use the opportunity to fix your systems and find out what's going wrong. In fact I recommend people do this regularly without the aid of reviews. Try and find out what's going wrong and you will be among the Elite in the business community.
Three. Reply quickly
first try and get in touch with this customer my looking through your internal systems. Nothing beats a face-to-face or phone call. If you can't do that then you need to reply to the review and ask them to reach out to you. This is your opportunity to gain a lifelong customer. People that complain the loudest will also sing your praises the loudest if you convert them into being a lifelong fan. This should be your ultimate goal. Of course, try and get them to remove the bad review but convert them into someone that would never go anywhere else. Look at this as a last attempt at gaining a customer for life. Everyone that goes about it in this way wins all the time in the end. Not every person but, you win at business.
Four. Solve the problem with the customer
As I stated in the previous section it is very important that you reach up quickly and thoroughly but what does it take to solve the problem with a customer. This is psychology. I'm not saying that this person might not just be a jerk but more than likely they were hurt in such a manner that they felt it necessary to go out and tell the world. That means that ultimately speaking you or somebody else screwed up pretty badly and made them feel unimportant. This is your opportunity to fix it. Make them feel important. Make them feel appreciated and wanted. You don't have to give away the farm. In fact most people see coupons, discounts and gift certificates as a slap in the face. Ask them what happened. Be honest. Be open. After all, this is your opportunity to find out what happened in your business to make sure that it never happens again. We live in a reality TV based world at this point so don't be afraid to let them in to see what's cooking in the kitchen. Let them know that their input can help things so that this never happens again. Be real. Be personable.
Five. Stay on top of the reviews
I want you to stay on top of your reviews. As a business owner this is one thing that you can do quite well. Of course we want to drowned out any negative reviews with positive reviews but the curation of these reviews is ultimately influenced by ownership and management. Get on board and embrace the review system. It will only work out to your advantage. I highly suggest people schedule and spend 5 to 10 minutes per week curating good reviews and if you do that you shouldn't have to do much work at all on the negative reviews. When they do pop-up, handle them immediately.