Dealing with online complaints and bad reviews can be tricky.
It’s all too easy to take them personally (especially when you’re a sole trader)
And when you take it personally, you’ll act emotionally and often make things worse.
Bad reviews are inevitable for most companies. But they can actually be great for your business.
You see, when potential customers look for reviews, they tend to skip straight past all the 5 star ones and go directly to the 1 star comments.
If a company ONLY has 5 star reviews, people don’t really bother reading them. And to be honest, it looks a bit dodgy. (Too good to be true!)
So, what should you do if you get an unfavourable review online?
Firstly, take a breath and separate yourself from the complaint. It’s all too easy to take them personally (especially when you’re a sole trader).
Try to look at it as a business problem that needs a logical solution.
Now you need to respond to the comment / review.
At this stage you need to apologise that they are unhappy and find out how you can help resolve this issue.
Try to take the conversation offline if you can.
The key now is to listen to their complaint and then ask them the following question:
‘How can I resolve this problem for you?’
Now they are in a position where they need to tell YOU exactly what they want and work out how you should do it.
Once you have this information you then need to make a commercial decision.
Is it worth you doing it or not?
This is a decision you need to make logically. Not emotionally.
So, take your time!
Things you must NOT do…
- Argue with them. Trying to win an argument with an unhappy customer NEVER ends well. Even if you know you’re 100% right, then you still shouldn’t argue. Potential customers looking at the reviews don’t want to deal with an argumentative tradesperson.
- Try to make them change / remove the review. The more you ask, the more they will dig their heels in. So don’t do it!
- Ignore it. If you haven’t responded to the complaints, it looks like you don’t care and that you just run off with people’s money.
What should you do after you’ve resolved the issue?
Now ask if the customer is happy to update their review stating that you have resolved their problem. 9 times out of 10 they will do this without being prompted.
It is likely they won’t change the review from 1 star to 5 stars, but that’s not what you want.
What you want is the chain of messages showing publicly that you received a poor review, and you then responded quickly and professionally to resolve the issue. And that the customer then upgraded their review to 3 or 4 stars.
It’s interactions like this that people read before hiring someone.
Everybody knows that no business is perfect.
Problems are inevitable, it’s how you deal with them that separates good businesses from great ones.
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