Published: December 12, 2015
Online review sites have exploded, and consumers now factor online reviews heavily into their purchasing decisions. For the modern entrepreneur, customer reviews are an unavoidable cost of doing business. So, what do you do when you get a negative review or complaint online — whether onsite, on social media or anywhere in the digital space?
Don't ignore it.As difficult as it might seem, embracing negative feedback as a learning opportunity is the fast track to improving your performance. As long as you’re emotionally intelligent enough to accept that feedback, to learn from it, and to make the necessary adjustments. For much of our current C-Suite, who are well on their way to retirement, this is a scary concept and it's often easier to shy away from, ignore, or want to delete negative sentiment. But in 2014, this is not the solution. In fact, taking this approach will only bring on the complainers stronger and in full force. "By acknowledging and openly discussing the concerns of disgruntled customers on social media or anywhere digital, businesses may actually boost their reputations — and their bottom line." When you see a disgruntled customer online, don't panic. Instead work to follow theses simple steps.
Step 1: Keep calm and carry on. A negative post or comment is not the end of the world. Typically when customers post unhappy reviews, they are caught up in emotions and are simply looking for someone to hear them out. Step 2: Take it offline. The first key action, aside from not panicking, is to reach out to the customer and show empathy for what they're experiencing, let them know that you're there to help. Ask them to contact you outside the public landscape of the internet. Whether it's in a private social message, an email, or via phone, take things offline. This will make for better one on one communication for problem resolution and will keep the disgruntled customer from continuing to post unfavorable comments. Step 3: To respond or not to respond — that is the question. Never. And we repeat, NEVER, ignore a negative review online. Our first human reaction is to do everything in our power to hide or delete anything unfavorable. This will only fuel the fire. Always respond letting them know that you understand what they're going through and you're doing everything in your power to come up with a resolution.