BrainTrust Query: Responding to Negative Customer Reviews
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail Doc blog.
Customers gripe for a lot of reasons. Maybe they didn’t get waited on fast enough, or maybe a coupon expired and your assistant didn’t honor it.
The good news is you can have automated alerts sent to you whenever your business is reviewed or mentioned on the ‘net. That way, when a customer lashes out with a negative comment, you can respond with an online message that prospective customers can see — and thwart their impact.
Posting a response shows you are listening to your customers and taking action. Write your post in words that directly address the complaining customers’ concerns.
You should also personalize your message with words such as, "I own the business with my wife Mary and we are sorry to hear you had a bad experience, Joe.’"
Your post should also note that you thank them for their feedback and tell them how you are improving wherever the reviewer deemed you fell down. If it is really serious, invite the customer to contact you and include your e-mail address or phone number. It shows you are trying.
Just like in your store, a carefully written response can turn a negative situation into a positive one. You can even turn an angry customer into a raving fan.
Yes, there are "haters" out there who just love to vent online. Since they have a free forum, they love to tell everyone they were wronged. When you respond to them, just tell those negative reviewers that you took their comments seriously and are working to make your business even better.
When you look at negative reviews as informal customer surveys that help you identify and rectify business problems, you can welcome the chance to respond rather than sweat the review. Make sense?
Another issue is "bogus" reviews. Let’s face it, some reviews could be coming from a competitor or someone looking to get a discount on their next item. That’s why you need to respond.
But be polite, like one owner I know who ended his comment with, "I encourage viewers to read the other 100+ reviews who gave us five stars."
Some customers will give you a bad review in hopes that you will contact them with deals such as half off a future purchase. Don’t take the bait or you’ll be riddled with negative comments looking for the same deal. Instead, post a reasonable response that conveys the actions you are taking to provide an exceptional experience.
- Online Reputation: How to Monitor and Respond to Customer Reviews – Retail Doc
- Sacramento Restaurants Fight Against Yelp ‘Extortion’ – CBS Sacramento
Discussion Questions: How should stores respond to negative online reviews? How proactive should independents as well as larger chains be in monitoring and responding to negative reviews?