You work hard in your business. You are proud of the service you offer, and you have many happy customers. But no matter how hard you try, it is impossible to please everyone.
In the words of the great Abraham Lincoln:
You can please some of the people some of the time,
All of the people some of the time,
Some of the people all of the time,
But you can never please all of the people ALL of the time!
Put yourself in harm's way...
It is extremely important, as a business owner, to intentionally put yourself in potential harm's way by allowing people to review your business. Of course, most of the customers who review your business will be positive! If you're really lucky, the few unhappy ones will discuss their issues with you and not the rest of the world. Even at the risk of getting the odd negative comment, the power of positive reviews for your business and the reputation boon those bring is worth 'exposing' yourself a little bit. Of course, in the unlikely event that someone does negatively review your company, there are ways to mitigate the damages.
Always respond to reviews, positive or negative.
Believe it or not, the same premise applies to negative review response as it does to positive reviews. How you respond to a negative review impacts not only the reviewer but all the sets of eyes that come afterward. Seeing a business handle a particularly challenging review online suggests that management is proud of their business and willing to go the extra mile to maintain their reputation!
Make potential clients see the light with these four steps: apologize, promote, get offline, keep it simple.
How to respond to negative reviews
- Apologize and sympathize - The first step towards fixing a problem is acknowledging that one occurred. Regardless of what happened, a simple apology and sympathy for your customer’s experience goes a long way. Do not try to explain why the mistake happened, and DO NOT MAKE EXCUSES. The customer doesn't care.
- Promote - So the famous crab cakes weren’t up to par the day this particular customer visited. If they’re what you are known for, why not reiterate that? “Our crab cakes are usually a hit, we’re sorry to hear that they weren’t up to par when you visited!”
- Move the conversation offline - Don’t open a can of worms. Keep the lid on tight by offering the reviewer the chance to reach out via phone, email or both.
- Keep it simple - Avoid specifics and don’t ask questions. Those conversations are much better served in a space away from the prying public.
One last pro tip: leave your business name, location and category out of this. You don’t want your negative reviews showing up in search!
Do not say: "We here at Bob's Restaurant and bar (conveniently located next to the Truck Stop!) strive to provide all of our customers....blah blah blah."
Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? You can use our Reputation Management software to pull in your reviews from all over the web so you can respond quickly. We also have software that will automate the review solicitation process for you!
Do you have a review management strategy? Review management and solicitation is one of the many automated software management tools Gaslamp Village Media offers. Check out our suite of digital marketing products, and give us a shout if you'd like a test drive!