Ignoring bad customer reviews is a great way to quickly ruin your brand’s reputation. But it doesn’t need to be that way. In fact, handling negative reviews with a level head, and the right amount of care and consideration, can actually make your business much more successful. Negative reviews and angry customers should feel like nothing more than an opportunity. By taking the right actions, you can make sure that those negative reviews increase the number of new and returning customers to your business.
Here are four steps you can take to make the most of any negative review situation:
1. Show the customer that you value their feedback and, by extension, them and their business.
Many people who give negative feedback want one or all of three things: they want to be heard, they want their problem fixed, and/or they want to see your product or service improve. In any of these instances it’s good to make sure you let the consumer know you received their feedback and you’re taking it under consideration.
On review platforms like ConsumerAffairs.com, you can even post a public response to a negative review. This lends your response greater credibility because you’re acknowledging a user’s problem out in the open and showing that customer feedback matters to you.
Responding to a customer’s feedback on a public forum shows that you took it seriously and makes them and potential customers feel like you’re taking responsibility and allowing your brand to be held accountable. This can go a long way toward building trust and establishing a positive rapport. Once you’ve done that, it’s important to make sure you follow through or it could really hurt your reputation.
2. Share customer feedback inside of your organization.
You can’t benefit from customer feedback if the right people in your organization don’t know about what's being said. Was customer’s package delivered late? Let your shipping department know about it. Does a key piece of software crash frequently? Be sure your engineering and product development team know it’s happening. Was a consumer expecting something different than what they got? Maybe that was a communications error on the part of your marketing team and they need to reevaluate how to market to and educate consumers about the product.
Regardless of the situation, it can’t be improved unless the right people know. Make sure you have a structure in place inside your organization to get feedback to the key stakeholders who can act on it. This is especially important when you spot a trend in your reviews and can easily identify the key issues your company is having.
For a recent marketing project, I looked back at reviews of a particular brand from 2016. They mostly had 3 and 4 star reviews and there was a clear trend in what consumers liked and didn’t like. When I read the same brand’s 2017 reviews, it was clear they had taken the feedback to heart. The trending negative element was no longer present in the consumer reviews and most consumers were giving them 5 stars instead of 3 or 4.
3. Make changes based on that customer feedback.
To achieve those positive reviews, you’ve actually got to deliver. You can’t just acknowledge that you heard the customer and tell someone in your company about it. Follow up, talk to managers, make sure you’re organization is making the necessary changes to keep customers coming back and writing positive reviews.
Sometimes this means following up with an individual customer as well. Are you a plumbing company and one of your employees installed a new faucet that won’t stop leaking? Maybe you need to send someone out to fix that. And perhaps you also need to make an internal change such as checking the quality of a product or insuring that it works correctly before your employee leaves the installation site.
Whatever you do, just be certain that something comes of the consumer’s complaint. If you don’t make changes, you’re likely to continue to receive bad reviews about the same issues and your reputation will be harmed.
4. Show customers what you’ve done to address their concerns.
This can be in a public forum or a private one. If your customer expresses to you that you’ve fixed their problem and that they are now happy, it is worth it to ask them to say so by revising their review or adding to it that you did a great job addressing their needs.
Maybe a customer had a one time service experience that was not up to their standards or yours and you’ve already taken internal steps to fix what went wrong. Respond to their review, thank them for their feedback, and explain that you’ve changed your processes to make sure future customers have a better experience.
When you take these steps, you’ll find that a negative review of your brand didn’t ruin your reputation, but instead gave you an opportunity to get candid feedback and make changes that improved your business. Listening to reviews, taking them seriously, and making the right changes based on them is a great way to improve your reputation and customer experience.