Now more than ever, customers are far more likely to do their research online before spending money at a new restaurant, hiring a contractor, or visiting a retail store. They're also more likely to leave an online review of a business on social media accounts, both good and bad. Getting a bad review is part of owning a business since not everyone will love meal, their shopping experience, or their contractor's work. What matters most is how your business handles negative reviews when they do come in.
In today's Aegis blog post, we offer some suggestions for how best to handle negative reviews, since a good response can smooth over a bad experience and also impress potential customers who see how your business resolves customer issues.
Because consumers are used to instant gratification in most transactions, they expect to receive quick responses when they place online orders, when they need customer support, or when an experience has gone wrong. Businesses should respond as quickly as possible to online reviews, but particularly the negative ones. A prompt response shows readers that the business is active with their online accounts, that issues raised are being taken seriously, and that they will work to resolve issues before they escalate further online. Also, a prompt response is more likely to encourage people to return or make a first-time visit to your business.
Apologize and Explain
Although there are times a customer might share a negative comment because they are being unfair or unreasonable in their review, there are many times when there is an actual problem or issue that needs to be fixed, which means the customer is also owed an apology. When a food order is messed up, when a cashier is rude to a customer, or when a contracting job does not get completed on time, the business owner should make sure they take the time to apologize for the issue. A customer that feels heard and valued, even after a negative experience, is more likely to give the business a second chance.
In addition, businesses that owe customers an apology for poor service, incorrect orders, unnecessary delays, or other issues should also take the time to explain, when possible, what went wrong and how it will be resolved going forward. Customers are more understanding when they know a business is honest in their apology and will take steps to avoid a repeat of the issue. Explain what they should expect when they choose your business and what a normal experience with your business should look like.
Make It Right with Customers
Companies that have received negative online reviews should also attempt to make it right with customers so they can give your business a second chance, such as issuing a refund and/or offering an incentive or freebie so they return. For example, a retail customer that received poor customer service from a cashier might be inclined to return with a coupon off future purchases, or a restaurant customer might be issued a refund after discovering their food delivery was all wrong. These simple steps can go a long way in improving the customer/business relationship and can create a future positive transaction.
Develop Improvement Plans
Finally, companies should use online reviews as learning opportunities for themselves and their staff. A restaurant customer complaining of long wait times might need to reevaluate their employee scheduling for peak dining times, or a retail store with customer service complaints might need to retrain employees on proper employee interactions. These proactive steps can help ensure the business runs as smoothly as possible and can hopefully decrease the likelihood of more negative online reviews.
Businesses of all industries can use online reviews, both good and bad, to improve their business and increase customer satisfaction. At Aegis Insurance & Financial Service, our commitment to customer service involves being available to our clients for advice, research, and guidance with any Commercial Insurance questions or changes they have. Aegis offers a full range of top-quality Commercial Insurance policies, all at competitive rates and with packages tailored to your industry and unique business needs. Contact Aegis today at 713-850-7622 for more information, or fill out our online form for a free quote!