So you got a bad Google review (or Yelp, or whatever else). Now what?
First step: DON’T PANIC. Stay absolutely still. Don’t even blink. Don’t…move…a muscle…
Wait—that’s in case of a T-Rex attack, my bad. But the same principle applies. Don’t panic, or try to run away, or fight back. You will get eaten.
It’s a business owner’s nightmare—you put your time, blood and sweat into the company you built from scratch, and one day, POOF! Your hard-earned reputation is tarnished by one grumpy customer with a chip on their shoulder.
There are ways to minimize the damage to your company’s credibility and help ensure customer satisfaction. Whenever any of my clients get a negative review, I always recommend they take these 5 simple steps:
Evaluate the situation
Rectify the situation
Stay on top of it
Never—and I repeat, never—has this process failed me. Below you’ll find quick instructions to take you through each step. Breeze through these babies and never pay for a customer’s bad day again!
1. Don’t Panic (or lash out)
A bad or fraudulent Google or Yelp review may make you want to give that person a piece of your mind or grab the nearest sharp object and take a short drive. It’s extremely important that you don’t do either of those things. A bad review isn’t the end of the world—every company had gotten at least one.
Some research has even indicated that bad reviews increase sales, and there’s the time-tested belief that no publicity is bad publicity. So take a deep breath, calm down, and proceed to step two.
2. Evaluate the Situation
The first problem you need to solve is if the review is real. Fraudulent reviews are sometimes left by competitors or even randos you’ve never met. Here’s an example of a fraudulent review a client of mine recently got:
After receiving a bad review,check your records to see if that person really is, in fact, a customer. It turned out this guy was not.
If they are a previous customer, look at what they bought. Look at the time frame of service. Listen to the customer service calls. The more you know about the situation, the better equipped you are to handle it, and prevent it from happening in the future.
3. Respond to Negative Reviews Quickly
Remember, you’re not only pacifying the reviewer, you’re showing prospects how you respond to customer dissatisfaction.
Regardless of the type of negative review you got, respond quickly. Prompt action shows prospects that you’re committed to customer service. The majority of people who read your reviews are people interested in what you’ve got to sell. You not only need to make the complaining customer happy, but assure future customers that the same issue won’t happen to them.
If someone left a fraudulent review—i.e. they’ve never been to your restaurant, used your product, or used your services:
Address the complaint and apologize for the dissatisfaction
State you can’t seem to find them in your records as having been a previous customer
Offer to fix their situation and give them contact information
Flag or report the review as fraudulent
*Even if you flagged the review, prospects may still see it, or it may not be removed—this is why you ALWAYS respond.
If someone wasn’t satisfied with your service/product:
Address their complaint, and own up to it, even if it’s only half-true or 1 percent true.
Don’t make excuses—excuses are like assholes: we all have one and they all stink.
If there is a legitimate reason why the service/product they received was perceived as sub-par, be honest about it, and assure it won’t happen in the future.
Offer to fix the problem
4. Rectify the Situation
Here’s where you need to do some problem solving. There are cases when an angry review isn’t really about you or the company at all—maybe the customer just had a bad day.
But those times that there was a hiccup in service or a failing product, you need to make a solid effort to fix it. Whether that means better customer service representative training, firing an employee, rewording offers on your website—if you aren’t satisfying your customers, you have bigger problems.
5. Stay on Top of Your Bad Review
Was that fraudulent one ever flagged? Was it removed? Did you redo that customer’s service? Did you refund them?
Staying on top of what happens can actually turn your bad review into a good review. For example, if a customer was unhappy with a service and you came right back and fixed it, that customer may change their review from negative to positive with a little nudging.
If the review is on a platform that doesn’t allow for changes, they might leave you another one.
Avoid a Bad Review on Yelp, Google, and Other Directories
Negative reviews are usually drowned out by positive ones, so make an effort to get as many reviews as you can. However—the best response to a negative review is to not get one. Tighten up your customer service. Spend a little extra on training for your employees.
If responding to negative reviews wasn’t in your business plan, give me a call at Blue Corona. Not only do we offer online marketing services, we also offer amazing customer service representative training, and we will craft custom responses to every negative review your company gets.
About The Author: Betsy is a content marketing specialist with Blue Corona. When she’s not managing SEO campaigns or writing badass blog posts she’s practicing Muay Thai, hiking with her dog or teaching kids how not to fall off a horse.
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod
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