Of the many ways a day can be ruined, a negative review online is an acutely painful example. You don't even need to have had one to know this. Criticism can be hard handle face-to-face, and when it comes to you online the fire can quickly get out of control. Some businesses have even opted out of giving their followers permission to write online reviews, knowing how escalated or scathing they can be.
But you should never fear a negative review. They can actually be great for business if you respond to them quickly, respectfully, and take the opportunity to explain why the problem will be resolved soon, or is no longer an issue for your customers.
Face Reviews Head On
Make no mistake it is vital to respond to reviews, especially the not-so-nice ones. This is often the incentive behind writing one. Reviewers want to open up discussion with the managers and owners they couldn't speak to when they visited your business in person.
Your response doesn't have to be in the comments thread, but it should respond to the reviewer directly and aim to resolve their problems and restore their support of your business. Ask open-ended questions such as, "What would you like us to do?" or "Why do you think ___ did not work for you? One outcome of employing this kind of courtesy could be that they take their negative review down and write a positive one about how well you resolved the issue.
Let People Know You Want Reviews
You should be telling everyone you can to leave a review on your page: your customers, your staff, your visitors, and other businesses in your neighbourhood that you have a relationship with. When they do, it'll be easy to follow up with a thanks, a like, or a comment in response to their feedback.
If it's negative, let the criticism do its work. If there is any truth in it, it is hopefully a concern you're already aware of, and working to erase, in which case it should be easy to let everyone know the steps you are following this up with. If this is a new concern, be appreciative of the feedback and use it to improve the way you run your business.
Engage them in a Wholly Positive Way
The review box on your Facebook and Google search results pages is only one of various kinds of customer responses visible online. You should aim to create opportunities to encourage customers to share their positive experiences online, not just in the form of reviews, but on your other social media platforms.
Some examples are:
- - Instagram hashtags your customers can use to share their best photos and memories at your business
- - Social campaigns run in-store where you create media to share on your platform that shows people having a good time
- - Posts on social media that spark conversation about an industry topic and boost your customer's belief that you are an authority of what you do
Work their Criticism into Cheeky Brand Campaigns
For inspiration have a look at the clever ways these companies have handled negative reviews by coming up with cheeky and promotional material to curb the relevance of the criticisms they received:
- - San Diego restaurant Craft & Commerce plays bad reviews through the speakers in its restrooms
- - Italian restaurant Botto Bistro gives discounts to customers who have given them one star reviews on Yelp
- - A webseries called Real Actors Read Yelp Reviews gets a huge number of youtube views
Be a Reviewer & Set the Bar High
Lead by example and review other businesses. Share your reviews on your social media and offer a standard for your customers to meet when they review your business. You can also check-in to similar businesses on your personal social accounts. This will demonstrate that you are part of a tight community of dedicated professionals.
It Might Help Save You Some Problems
By opening up to reviews, you might learn more about your business and how customers are preserving it. If you shutdown their communication channels on your page, angry customers will find another way to broadcast their concerns in a channel that you cannot control.
Keeping the reviews under your control will allow you to respond to them in an easier way, solve the problem, and maybe open your eyes up to something that's going wrong in your business that you needed a 3rd eye to spot it for you. Clients will notice and will appreciate an enterprise that is willing to adapt to their needs.
If you're looking for guidance on how to manage your social media talk to us!