Tom runs an online store that sells toys and apparel for kids. Like all sellers, this holiday season was a busy one for him. The demand was more than what he had anticipated. Naturally, his delivery channels became congested, and he could not fulfill some orders. The customers were irked by this, and they decided to reach out to the store via the reviews section. Some of them were harsh and left some rude comments, and some of them were straight to the point, requesting support. But Tom got overwhelmed by this, and he decided to ignore all the comments.
In the following days, his store started receiving severe backlash for ignoring the customers, and many started going elsewhere for purchasing the products.
So, what do you think happened to Tom?
It’s simple; he forgot the golden rule when it comes to negative reviews - you should never ignore the customer.
Facing criticism is tough for most of us. We always like to think that we are right all the time. But in the business world, we have to take the negative feedback on the chin and move on. Reviews and ratings are tools that customers use to communicate their queries and concerns with your brand. It doesn’t matter what type of business you run; you must monitor and respond to reviews efficiently. They impact the business outcome and customer decision-making. By responding to reviews, you can build a loyal customer base. A new buyer often looks at reviews as social proof or a sign of trust. They bring a professional outlook to your brand image.
Responding to positive reviews is less significant when compared to negative reviews. They are a whole different ball game. If you get it right, you can go home smiling, but the repercussions are intense if you mess it up. But negative reviews are not always bad for business; they offer you a chance to look authentic and build a long-term relationship with a customer.
With this post, we will give you some tips on how to handle negative reviews and use them to your advantage to grow your business.
If a customer is going to leave a negative review, as sellers, you must understand that he or she has had a bad experience with your product or brand and expects a swift response. Delaying it is only going to worsen the situation, and the damage will eventually be irreparable. By promptly responding to the reviews, you are showcasing that you care for the customer’s opinion and value it.
Sometimes, the customer’s bad experience might not be related to your product. For example, it can be due to bad customer service, delayed order delivery, or other mishaps. By responding to it promptly, you will be able to save your product’s reputation and start working behind the scenes parallelly to solve the customer’s problem.
Look at the below example for a swift response. A customer left a Twitter post about his bad experience while traveling with JetBlue airlines. Look how their Twitter handle admin responded to the situation. JetBlue airlines understood the situation and took control of it immediately by interacting with one of their customers in a social space, thereby keeping their reputation and relationship with the customer intact.
Be Polite & Transparent
Along with a quick response, you must also be polite and transparent. You shouldn’t let your emotions take control of you, as most of the negative reviews will be harsh. But before losing control, you must always think from the customer’s perspective; he or she has every right to make a complaint. And it is your job to understand their pain points and rectify the problem.
You should carefully craft polite sentences like “Thank you for your valuable feedback” or “Sorry to hear about that.” Modern-day customers expect a certain level of professionalism, and it gives credibility to your review responses.
Likewise, you should be transparent with your responses. If you have made a mistake, take ownership of it, and think about corrective actions. And, if you have not made a mistake, explain it in detail politely so that the customer will be able to look at the situation from a different point of view. Most customers expect an honest response, and if they feel that their complaints are dealt with in a fair manner, they will be satisfied.
For example, look at the below response. The customer had written a long review, and one of the main complaints was water remediation. In return, the hotel management was extremely polite, and they explained their side of the story with a detailed review response.
Take It Offline
Depending on the magnitude of the issue, you must decide whether to continue responding in the public space or take it offline. For example, it might be apt to reach out to the customer via email or phone when it requires lengthy discussions and personal information disclosure. But make sure that you are not overstepping any boundaries by moving the communication offline. Keep the customer informed about this decision and acquire permission to reach out to him or her directly.
You can always ask the customer for another review or edit the existing review once the issue has been resolved with follow-up review requests. You can even leave a brief comment in the public timeline after ensuring that the customer is happy with the service.
If you are running a business in the digital space, you should not be surprised or overwhelmed by negative reviews. You can’t simply ignore them as Tom did. Instead, you must understand and learn how to respond to them. The holiday season is full of opportunities for online sellers. It brings a lot of new customers to you, and the last thing they want to see is you running away from negative feedback. So monitor your online presence, give more attention to negative reviews, courteously respond to them and build positive connections with your customers.
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