“I don’t want to open a Facebook page for my business because I might get a negative review.”
If you are a business owner and have had this thought then you are not alone. But I will tell you that it is not a good reason to stay off Facebook or any other online platform. In fact, it is a very bad reason and I will tell you why soon.
Do You Have A Problem?
First I’m going to ask you to be very honest with yourself. Does your business or product have a problem that needs to be resolved to keep your customers happy? This is the first and most important step in receiving positive reviews, as well as having and keeping happy customers and staff. It is okay to admit you have a problem.
- Do you have a bad product? Fix it. If you are selling something that is making people mad then you should make changes. Buy quality parts. Invest in better craftsmanship. Whatever is lacking in your product you need to correct and you should know what that is. If you sell a service that people are not happy with ask yourself why.
- Do you need to be offering more? What are your competitors doing that you should be doing?
- Do your employees provide a good customer service? People like to do business with people. And nobody likes to go into a business where they are not acknowledged or appreciated. Even the best customer service staffs in the world continue taking customer service classes so that they always provide the best possible experience. Perhaps you should bring in an expert for some training. If you have employees who are unwilling to step up their game then it may be best to assign them to other departments or let them go.
- Have you provided your employees with the tools and authority they need to make decisions to provide the best possible customer service experience? If the staff is unable to solve problems for customers quickly then little issues can blow up into big problems very quickly. Provide your staff the permissions to offer refunds or store credits. Allow them opportunities to give away “freebies” or upgrades if that is what it will take to retain a customer.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates
What happens if people say bad things online?
Try to make it right. Did they change their review as a result?
When you get a negative review, attempt to reach out to the customer to make the situation right. If possible, respond to their review in a comment asking them to contact a specific person in your office with a direct phone number to that person. Follow up by contacting the customer through other means if you have records of their contact information. The quicker you can resolve their problem, the better. Often, a reviewer will modify their review at this point to show how an issue was resolved and those modified reviews are sometimes the best reviews you can receive.
If you have made the issue right and the customer did not change their review, ask. Maybe.
If the customer is only partially satisfied with the solution or are the type of customer who cannot be satisfied it may be best to let it be. But if the customer seems delighted with the solution, it can’t hurt to ask them to update their review. Be sure the customer understands that everything you have done has been to keep a positive, happy customer. If they would like to update their original review you would appreciate it but it is not necessary for them to continue to receive great service from you.
Can’t make it right?
There are times when you are not going to be able to make the situation right for the customer. Either a product is lost or out of stock, or maybe they are seeking some sort of attention or solution you simply cannot provide. It is okay to acknowledge those reviews. Apologize for their unpleasant experience and make it known that you are reviewing policies so that you can do better in the future. Keep your response brief and positive, and do not attack the reviewer.
Former employees or competitors
On the most reputable sites people must sign in with their true identity, and a good deal of the public understands and expects that now. A good majority of the online population has become savvy to the idea that disgruntled ex-employees and jealous competitors may also attempt to post a negative review and will sniff those out. If you see a review that you think violates the terms of services with the review provider you can and are encouraged to report it or flag it as inappropriate.
Request reviews from your great customers to “push” the bad reviews down
It is okay to ask your customers to give you a review, but there are some rules you should follow. Never offer incentives for reviews. Do not place a kiosk in your location for a review. Do not ask for a review before services have been completed. Allow the reviews to come freely from your customers and let them know that you value their feedback and hope to learn from what they share.
I told you that I would tell you why staying off Facebook and other social networks to avoid bad reviews was a bad idea and this is why: If someone is upset with your business or product, they are going to complain online anyway. You WANT them to share their experience in your space, where you can see the issue, acknowledge the issue, make it right in the eyes of the customer and prevent it from happening again. The worst thing that could happen is for people to be upset and sharing their negative experience and for you to never know it is happening.
The Worx offers Reputation Management Services for businesses seeking assistance with reviews and who want to further their positive name in their community.
Want more information? Contact us.
Keely Rowe is the Director of Online Marketing at The Worx Company. She loves ginger beer, The Fat Tony from Empire Slice Pizza and Pringles. We can help manage your social media business profiles. Contact us.