Receiving negative feedback is a scary but inevitable part of growing a business. Often, businesses feel that removing negative feedback from the public eye is the best way to handle the situation. In reality it’s all about how you respond to the feedback that makes or breaks how it effects your business. In fact, a study conducted by Reevoo found that the presence of bad reviews actually improved conversions by 67%. They also found that 68% of consumers trusted reviews more when they saw both good and bad scores, and 30% suspected censorship or faked reviews when they didn’t see any negative opinions on the page. Having a plan in place on how to handle the negative feedback you receive will help you turn the negative situation into a positive learning experience.
Here are the best practices for handling negative feedback:
Responding to all feedback in a timely manner is an important practice. In order to do this you need to ensure that you monitor your online business reputation from multiple areas. Reviews are not just limited to your website, Google presence, and Facebook page. Making sure you’re aware of all of the different areas you may be listed online will help you respond in a timely manner. The quicker you can create a resolution, the better.
Address the issue immediately:
Make sure you address the issue brought up in the review and avoid giving a generic response. Be detailed with your response so that the customer understands you are taking steps to resolve their issue. If steps are involved, be clear. Let them know when you plan on following up with them, and make sure you stick to your word.
Gather information & details:
Gather all of the information necessary to resolve the issue. Sometimes, negative reviews and feedback are left during heated moments and only half of the story or complaint is explained. When following up with the customer, ask questions to ensure you’re resolving their issue effectively. Make a master list of information and details that you want to collect across the board in this situation so that you’re always prepared.
Offer a solution:
It’s not enough to just apologize for the negative situation, offer a solution. Take the conversation offline and find a solution that best addresses their complaint. For example, if you own a restaurant and a customer left you negative feedback after their meal, get in touch to offer them a free meal. Not only will this help you rectify the situation, it will give you another chance at giving them a positive experience at your restaurant. Having a solution based mind set will allow you to grow a positive relationship with unhappy customers over time.
[Read this related post, The Art of Building Rapport Online, to learn how you can better interact with consumers online.]
Learn & grow:
Negative feedback can be scary, but it’s a necessary and inevitable part of growing as a business. Collecting positive feedback is equally as important as monitoring negative feedback to ensure you’re learning from your mistakes and continue to grow in the right direction. Keeping a feedback record will allow you to ensure you’re on top of the positive and negative reviews you receive. This will also help your company be consistent and timely with how you deal with both positive and negative feedback in the future.
Overall, the way you respond to negative feedback is a true indicator of your company in the eyes of the consumer. Having a plan and making it a priority to always remain on top of the negative feedback you receive will help you turn the negative into a positive. What systems does your company have in place for monitoring and responding to feedback? Comment below!