Negative reviews of your business or products can be a real stressor for today’s marketers. For one, they are generally seen as outside the sphere of control, and nobody likes feeling like they’re not in control. In addition, consumers today have proven less trusting of marketers’ claims and more likely to research on their own, using reviews as a key source of information before making a final decision.
So as a marketer, what’s the best way to deal with the inevitable negative reviews you are likely to get?
- Step 1 is simply to understand that they will come, and be ready for them. Having a plan in place alleviates some of the stress they create.
- Step 2 is to acknowledge them, and use them to get better. Not all reviews will be helpful or insightful. But some should open your eyes to key areas that need improvement – such as deficiencies in your product or service processes that can be improved. Create an open system of communicating this feedback to those departments that can do something about them.
- Step 3 is to respond. Avoid getting angry or blaming customers. Respond in a way that shows you hear what they are saying and will address it. If there is some way you can make the reviewer happy, do it. Right the wrong, and do it publicly so that your business can get credit for responding to customer complaints.
- Step 4 is to follow up. Some review sites, like Yelp, allow people to change a review after it’s posted. If you solve someone’s issues or address their complaints, it is more than reasonable to see if you can get that review changed or removed.
- Step 5 is to actively cultivate positive reviews. The best way to avoid negative reviews taking down your business is to make sure the happy outweigh the angry. Solicit positive reviews from satisfied customers in any way that you can. Make everyone who interacts with customers a proponent of the review culture, aware that a positive review is the single best outcome of all interactions. Go out of your way to delight customers and they’ll reward your for it.
The reality is, your company will get negative reviews. Every company does. It’s how you deal with them that will determine success.