5 tips on handling bad reviews like a pro

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With many companies offering similar products/services at reasonable prices, what’s a customer to do when it comes to getting something worthwhile? How do they decide which company to buy from?

Read the reviews, of course.

A marketing study conducted by Dimensional Research in 2013 concludes that a huge percentage (86%) of survey takers have stated that their buying decisions are made based on the influence of negative online reviews. Meaning to say, one can never underestimate the damage bad reviews can cause to reputation and sales.

Fortunately, bad reviews are not too difficult to address. In fact, if handled right, you just might be able to convert the complainer into a long term supporter! Statistics have shown that a whopping 95% of dissatisfied and unhappy customers are likely to continue using your services once their issues are resolved efficiently and addressed properly.

So, here’s 5 tips on handling bad reviews like a professional:

1. Identify their purpose

Constructive comments should be addressed, and negative ones too- at an extent. If the review is coming from an unhappy customer or client, then it is important to respond as most customers simply want their concerns and frustrations heard. If the review is made with the purpose of solely being spam, inappropriate or offensive, then it is best to prioritise your time and energy elsewhere. People committed to insulting or attempting to damage your reputation will rarely be appeased no matter your response, therefore it is absolutely alright to respond with reasonable solutions to a certain extent and move on.

2. Set the tone of your response

Sometimes, it can be tempting to return the criticism with a passive aggressive retort- but don’t. You can draft that response, but you can never post it. A public response that remains polite, respectful and professional will do your reputation more good than insults ever will. Keep in mind that whatever you type’s on a public domain and virtually EVERY one can see it.

Address the problem, validate the customer’s complaints and maintain your professional attitude. This way, even if you can’t resolve 100% of every bad review, you will be telling your prospective clients and investors that you are committed to providing good service and truly care about your customers’ needs.

You might even gain supporters from it!

In fact- look on the bright side. A lot of customers are actually willing to put more trust in a company with a healthy mix of good and bad reviews since companies with all good ones just seem too good to be true.

3. Value of Transparency

Being honest and upfront can sometimes be a better tactic, since customers value sincerity and commitment, and will most likely be willing to trust you a lot better if you show a sense of accountability or communicate your weakness truthfully.

For example: You own a small business where there’s limited manpower. So it may very well work out for you if you explain and address how it may take a longer time to get the product done and that you will do your best to make it on time. This way if you do, customers will be pleasantly surprised and even if you don’t, they will know what to expect.

Customers are more forgiving and positive when they are able to trust you.

4. Formulate a plan

Coming up with a strategy and anticipating issues can help with the handling of reviews. Pay attention to customer feedback. A lot of helpful information can be gleaned from people who try out your services. Say for instance, you are the supplier and creator of a software. What can be improved about your software? What are some bugs or problems you need to troubleshoot?

Is it easy to use or do customers struggle with problems? If you pay attention and are able to anticipate the issues enough to prepare an FAQ or tutorials and the like, you may be able to solve the problems of unhappy customers, thereby making them satisfied with both your product and customer service. In this way, you can build up a good reputation for your company.

5. Follow up and Resolution

First things first- you want to validate the customer’s concerns and communicate a resolution that is satisfactory. By that, it doesn’t mean promising never to have the problem happen again or saying that you’ll resolve the issue- these alone aren’t going to cut it. Especially when you are faced with an angry customer. It’s not going to matter to them- all they want is their problem fixed. “

So it’s always better to fix the problem and then follow up by perhaps offering a discounted rate or something else before promising that you’re taking steps to make sure that what they faced today would not happen again.

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