Thursday, May 9, 2019

How to Deal With Negative Reviews or Complaints

Online reviews are not only important, but they are crucial to the success of just about any small business today. Consumers value the opinions of their peers and while we hope you receive 100% positive reviews, there are times when customers leave less than flattering comments. How you respond and handle these reviews has the ability to either make or break your business, especially considering:
  • 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews (1)
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (1)
  • 74% of people who see customer reviews on a business website say they would contact the business (2)
And as much as you might want to, you can’t brush negative reviews under the rug. We’ll give you a few tips on how to deal with these kinds of messages and comments head-on.

Read the Review Thoroughly - Seeing the first sentence of a negative review can be surprising, and can even spark a moment of anger or frustration. But before you make it personal or start getting defensive, it’s important to put yourself in your customer's shoes. Read the entirety of their review and take a few moments to understand it, and reflect on it so you can understand where your customer is coming from right off the bat.

Understand What Happened - Hold off on responding until you get all the facts - but get those facts quickly. Immediately consult anyone within your dealership who might have worked with this specific customer. Get their side of the story and see where the issue might have occurred.

Respond Quickly - Wishing away a bad review is impossible - as much as you might want to. We encourage you to quickly deal with reviews head-on, whether they are good OR bad. Consumers want a response, and they want it fast. In fact, according to the Local Search Association, most consumers expect a brand or business to respond within 24 hours - so make sure to avoid passing that mark at if all possible. We suggest responding as soon as you see the comment, especially when dealing with negative reviews. It’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t just responding to one unsatisfied customer, you are catering to anyone and everyone who reads that online review.

Take the Conversation Offline - After you have crafted your response, we recommend adding a closing sentence that offers to take the conversation offline if needed. Try something like this, “If you’d like to chat about this concern further, my name is XXXX. Please feel free to reach me at (insert phone number, email, or both).” Adding this simple sentence shows customers that you care enough to take additional time and effort to solve their problem quickly.

Stay Calm, Cool, Collective, AND Professional - Never get heated in a response to a customer. It’s crucial to stay professional at all times when dealing with negative reviews. Start by addressing the customer by name and apologizing for their less than satisfactory experience. As we mentioned earlier, if a specific comment warrants a phone call, offer that option to the customer as well.

Put a Positive Spin on the Situation - We aren’t going to sugar-coat it - responding to negative reviews isn’t fun, but try looking on the bright side of things. Look at responding to reviews as not only an opportunity to right a wrong but also as an opportunity to promote the best parts of your business. Try promoting what your business does well while addressing the consumer’s issues at the same time. For example, “Our dealership is widely known for our excellent customer service and we apologize for missing the mark.”

Look at it as a Learning Experience - Negative reviews give your dealership and employees the opportunity to grow. We suggest going over these types of reviews with your entire staff to make sure they are all on the same page and know exactly what types of issues might spark negative feedback. Customer service is #1 so give your employees the opportunity to take action in the future to eliminate issues before they even occur.

Remember, if you respond to reviews the right way and address a customer’s complaint, you could always receive an updated review from the same customer praising how you handled the situation. Reputation is everything in the business world and we want to make sure you are always looking your best online. So, good or bad - make sure you’re responding to your online reviews and tackling any issues head-on and professionally.

1 - Moz
2- Stat Labs
Trader Online Web Developer