I’ve received a bad review for my product or service on social media. What’s the best way to deal with it?
Well, here’s my first piece of advice: Deal with it.
Not the review – the problem.
You see, most of the time, people tend to tell you the ‘bad stuff’ rather than the ‘good stuff’. What separates good business from bad business, is what you do with that bad stuff.
Our natural reaction to a bad review is to lash out. It’s an emotive response and rarely provides a positive outcome. As in any situation, when we’re at our most calm, we make the best decisions.
So step one, is to allow time to become cool.
Step two, is about actually understanding the problem. This is critical because the review may not lay it out in black and white. It’s also vital because this is the only way you’re going to make your business better.
Let’s say the review says: “Worst hotel ever. Wouldn’t spend another night in that grotty hole!” Now, that’s not great to hear but what made them describe it as a “grotty hole”?
Was it dirty sheets? Dusty curtains? Un-vacuumed floors? Cigarette butts left in the flowerbed by another guest?
It may not even have been something you’ve done!
By understanding what sparked the bad experience, you have the ability to change it in the future. To provide a better service. To make more customers happy.
So what do you do about the fact that it’s now all over the internet?
Well, this is difficult to fix sometimes. Depending on where and how the review’s been left, there is often little you can do to remove the actual review. Each review needs to be analysed carefully to see what course of action is most appropriate.
Most of the time, a simple: “We’re sorry you were unhappy with our service. We’d like to understand your concern better and will be in contact shortly.” This at least lets other viewers know that you care about your customers and are prepared to listen.
When you get a hell-raising rant from someone who is quite clearly delusional, sometimes the best defence is silence. Responding is likely to only fuel the fire and sadly there are some reviewers out there who simply go around looking for a fight. This is not a situation you wish to find yourself in.
Always refrain from using abusive language or making your reply personal. Be positive and NEVER USE CAPS LOCK!
If possible, the best resolution is to actually speak to the person. Ask them to help you improve your business. While you’ll have to pick through the emotion of their negative take on your business, you’re bound to find nuggets that will allow you to provide continued improvement and solid growth.
Nothing was ever made better by thinking it was already perfect. We need constructive criticism to know what we could be doing better.
In our fast-paced world, many people feel like they’re not listened to. That they’re dismissed. Taking time to listen will give you back credibility and earn you respect – two elements that tend to be lacking in the online environment.
This article first appeared on StartupSmart.