How to Respond to Negative Feedback About Your Business
Whether you operate an independent establishment or work as a marketing manager for a large corporation, managing negative feedback can be difficult. Just as you will receive praise from satisfied customers and clients, you can also expect feedback from people who don’t connect with your services.
Negative feedback can be detrimental to profits as according to statistics published by Review Trackers, 94% of people who come across negative online reviews are likely to avoid the business they refer to. 94% is a staggering number of potential customers who will be discouraged from coming to your establishment due to the negative feedback left about your business.
However, there are several ways to manage negative feedback in a correct, professional manner to mitigate losing customers. Let’s take a look at several tips and tricks which will help you develop stronger public relations and attract even more customers to your business through proper management of negative feedback.
How Customer Relations Can Benefit Your Business
Before we take a look at how you can manage negative feedback correctly, let’s take a look at some benefits to engaging with your customers in the first place. Remember that your brand and business are built to last for decades - short term profit won’t allow you to grow your establishment.
Amanda Sparks, head of the marketing department at EssaySupply spoke highly of the matter, “While you may have to hire a social media manager or a PR representative to do it correctly, managing your business’ online reviews is a golden opportunity for good marketing. Make sure to take some time to respond to each comment, review or piece of feedback surrounding your brand to make the most of what the customers enabled you to do - promote your business online.”
Brand Recognition - Your business will be recognized more often by potential customers and clients due to your activity with the online audience
Competitive Spirit - Your rivals and competitors will have to pay close attention to your activities since you will become more competitive and competent on the market due to your customer relations
Positive Word of Mouth - The better you handle negative (and positive) reviews, the more people will want to bring their friends and family to your establishment
High Return on Investment - Online marketing through feedback responses is a cheap and easy way to promote your business at zero additional cost
In Case of a Negative Review, Review the Issue Internally
Let’s talk about how you can manage negative reviews if they ever come your way. It’s always a good idea to think critically and objectively about any comment, suggestion, or criticism your business receives online. Don’t jump to conclusions and try to respond to negative feedback without first consulting your employees about it.
It’s possible that you are dealing with a disgruntled individual who had different expectations from your business as opposed to what you can offer realistically. However, if a problem does exist, make sure to check your facts carefully before you start writing a response. Once a response is published online, it will be very difficult to get rid of if it turns out that your customer was in the right. Talk to your staff about the issue and come up with an adequate response as a team.
Respond Quickly and Professionally to a Negative Review
Ignoring negative feedback surrounding your business and services can leave potential customers upset. It’s always better to respond to feedback as best as you can instead of ignoring obvious criticism pointed at your business.
Upon receiving negative feedback, you shouldn’t wait more than 48 hours before you respond, this is especially true for popular review platforms such as Google Business, Trip Advisor, and others depending on your establishment’s industry. Consider using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to respond quickly to customers’ feedback. It can help you coordinate your team’s actions and avoid overlapping while responding.
Once you decide to respond to feedback, it’s also important to come off as a professional. Don’t allow emotions or subjective judgments muddle your objectivity in terms of handling bad public reviews. You can also employ professional content platforms such as Grammarly and Flash Essay to write a high-quality response to the feedback you received. Be vigilant of potential reviews and be ready to respond to different types of comments targeted at your establishment, whether they are true or false.
Acknowledge the Negative Feedback Apologetically
Unfortunately, when it comes to responding to negative feedback in terms of your business, the customer is always right - even when they are not. It’s important to be diplomatic and respectful in terms of writing your response to negative criticism.
It is always best to be respectful to criticism to avoid alienating a bigger audience that may be discouraged from visiting your establishment if they notice aggression or negative emotions in your response. Remember to be level-headed and understanding of whatever negative feedback you may receive.
Veronica Wright, CEO of Resumes Centre spoke of her own experience with negative feedback in the case of a government resume writing project, “I’ve had to deal with a lot of public sector projects which were targeted by bad publicity and negative news articles. It’s important to choose your words carefully when responding to online writing because your response will be saved and shared by anyone who doesn’t agree with your business. Think two steps ahead and your critical writing skills will improve drastically.”
Avoid Writing Errors When Responding to Negative Reviews
It's important to make sure that responses to negative feedback are written using correct grammar, spelling, and formatting.
Text editing platforms such as Evernote can also alleviate much of the stress when it comes to writing and editing your negative feedback responses.
Use short sentences and direct wording to appear clear and professional to your readers. While your reviewer may not be satisfied with a response you provided, you will at least appear genuine and trustworthy to others who come across the review.
Invite the Reviewer to Chat About Their Negative Experience
Sometimes it might be a good idea to talk to the reviewer who wrote your negative feedback directly. You can reach out to the person in question by answering their feedback comment directly and providing them with contact information. Don’t force the issue however since you may come off as pushy or too determined to talk to the person in private.
However, people who do want to chat online or via webcam will likely offer critical, objective thoughts and advice on how you can improve your business; don't worry about shallow reviews from people who only view your establishment negatively. Be proactive and invite people who are respectful and professional in their writing to tell you more about how you can improve your services in the future.
Offer a Gift as Compensation for Their Negative Experience
While you should never bribe or coerce reviewers to change their thoughts on your establishment, you can still nudge their thinking in a positive direction. Small tokens of appreciation such as discount coupons, free meal tickets or even extra services for recurring purchases can do wonders for your PR.
Use criticism to your advantage by engaging the reviewer with extra value. Offer the reviewer something to increase their chances of visiting again. Remember, when you answer feedback online, you answer to all who might read it, not one person.
Work on Fixing the Negativity at Your Business
Lastly, the best way to handle negative feedback directed at your business is to fix the problem. As we’ve previously mentioned, your customers may be in the right when it comes to acknowledging a problem at your establishment. Take criticism into consideration and review your business, focusing on the problem pointed out.
If a problem does exist, it’s imperative it doesn't happen again. You can go further and offer proof that the problem was fixed through videos or images attached to your response.
Forthcoming communication will do wonders for your public relations and brand reputation. Don’t brush off negative comments as an annoyance and use them as a useful and powerful tool to make your business even better than before.
Managing negative feedback is a long-term project, so, it’s a good idea to appoint a single person to keep an eye out for any reviews or comments about your brand. Make sure to analyze positive and negative feedback in terms of your establishment and ask yourself “why” it ended up positive or negative. Try to understand the way your customers think, and you will have a much better idea of how to handle future visitors to your establishment and avoid negativity altogether.