As many customers choose to read reviews before they deicide where to dine it pays to be proactive on review sites . The aim should be to turn negative reviews into a mechanism to improve your business
Let's look at some of the steps you should take when you receive a negative review.
1. Stay Calm and Be Polite
The first thing to do when receiving such a complaint is to take a break. Don't respond straight away. Take the time to calm down and investigate any of the issues raised. If you do respond straight away you risk responding in an angry and defensive tone which could do more damage.
While it is always best to take some time out before responding, don't leave a negative review unacknowledged for too long. Try and respond within 24 hours of the review being received. When you do, ensure you reply in a polite, measured tone.
2. Ask For False Reviews To Be Removed
Some of the reasons for flagging a review for investigation include:
- It's false
- You suspect it has been posted by a competitor
- It contains a profanity
- It contains a personal attack
- The review contains private information
3. Public or Private Response
At first it may be necessary to ask for more details about the customers complaint and to offer a solution to the issues raised. It's recommended that in all but the most serious situations you invite the customer back to your cafe or restaurant.
Once you have contacted the customer privately you should then respond publicly. In the response acknowledge the customers concerns and outline how you have gone about rectifying the issue.
Remember that potential customers will be reviewing how your respond to customers and forming opinions on that basis. Being proactive and responding publicly is a great way to demonstrate that you are committed to high levels of customer service. It will have a positive impact on customers perception of your business.
In the instant that you have tried to get in contact with a customer who has made a negative complaint but you have received no response, it is a good idea to comment publicly so that you demonstrate to potential customers that you've been proactive.
4. Provide Acknowledgement
It is also important to apologise, even if you don't agree with what the reviewer has said. In addition, don't attempt to explain how things 'really happened.' This will only make the situation worse. People reading the reviews will identify this defensiveness and take the side of the customer, not yours.
5. Offer To Make Ammends
- A refund
- A private tour
- A free meal
Making a disgruntled customer feel important can be a good way to reduce their anger. Hopefully extending the olive branch will help change the opinion of the reviewer. Most sites offer the opportunity to change a review.
Sometimes the most unhappy customers, with a bit of work and perseverance can turn into loyal fans!
6. Humanise Your Brand
By showcasing pictures of the staff and behind the scenes insights then customers won't see you as another faceless business.
When leaving reviews, customers are reminded their dealing with real human-beings. Even if they want to leave a negative review they are more likely to do it in a polite, constructive way.
One technique that can also work in some situations when responding to reviews is humour. Ensure your still taking the complaint seriously, but the use of humour can diffuse the anger of a negative reviewer.
7. Learn and Move On
See all reviews, both positive and negative as a way to learn and improve your cafe or restaurant. You are likely to see common themes in feedback from customers. Customers then become de-facto business consultants helping you to constantly improve.
We'd love to hear your feedback. What have you found to be the best ways to respond to a negative review?
Via: Business Queensland; Sprout Social; Word Stream; Forbes; Fast Company; Hospitality Magazine.