There is no doubt about it, people behind a keyboard and their opinions on your business is a fact of life now. The old tale of a good experience you’ll tell three people, a bad experience you’ll tell 10 people doesn’t ring true anymore. A bad experience, one that makes your blood boil enough to jump online and write a scathing review, you can now tell the world. That’s the power of the consumer now and the risk to business.

So, what can we do about it? Knowing you’ll never make everyone happy is one part of the acceptance process. We cannot be all things to all people and there will just be clients and customers that will be disgruntled and will never come back from being a complete brand detractor. Accepting that is the first step.

Have you received a bad review? There it sits at the top of google, pulling down your average and blatantly revealing the low star count. It’s enough to make any business owner recoil and want to power back a response. But first take a deep breath and cool down. Once you are sure you’re not going to type every word under the sun back at the review, follow these next steps to take considered action.

Firstly, unless it’s a fraudulent claim that you can prove, don’t bother heading to Google to take it down. They have strict guidelines around what’s deemed a bad review versus fraudulent.

Secondly, devise a response. But don’t hit post. Re read your response and make sure it covers the following;

  • Does not slander the person who wrote the post
  • Doesn’t use any aggressive or coarse language
  • Apologise if it’s an actual error on your businesses behalf. Own the error, apologise and offer to contact them and see if you can offer some sort of compensation or sweetener to change their feelings.
  • If it is not worthy of an apology, say you are upset they feel that way, or you are disappointed they feel that way – this is not saying you apologise but acknowledging their feelings. Then respond accordingly to their issue but promoting your brand/business promise. Something like…

We are disappointed that’s the experience you have had with us. We go to great lengths to ensure our customers receive great service. Although this may have been a once off incident, we will be ensuring that our team are focused on providing the best customer experience possible – every time.

  • Re read and proof read your response a final time to make sure your grammar is on point and any anger you are feeling isn’t reflected in your response.

Next ask your customer base to review you as well – asking clients who you know will positively promote or provide constructive feedback. This will help bump down the negative post and lift your score. You can even offer a little incentive, 10% off their next purchase if they write you a review, to drive response rates.

Most importantly – for every review you receive make sure you post on their review a thank you message acknowledging they took the time to say nice things about your business and you value their feedback.

Always remember this – without the power of feedback you will never know if you’re hitting the mark with your target market. Value each piece of feedback you get and ask yourself if indeed there is any truth to it, and what you can do differently within your business. This critical view will assist in driving your business growth and never resting on your laurels!

Written by Marissa Marschke, Marketing specialist

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