In reputation management, the best approach where possible is to avoid bad reviews altogether. The following steps will help you to avoid them. Many people leave bad reviews simply because they don’t feel heard or validated by the company. You can’t win everyone over, but you can reduce bad reviews when you have the opportunity:
1. Open up Communication Channels
Most people don’t leave a bad review unless they have already contacted the company. If the company is difficult to reach or not responsive they resort to a review. Allow people to contact you in as many different ways as possible.
2. Respond Quickly
Even if you don’t have an answer right away, respond immediately (personally – not through an automated message) so people know you are looking into it. Giving people time to sit and stew feeling ignored is a good way to get poor reviews.
3. Be Nice + Build Connections
Customer service studies show that we are less likely to complain about people we like. Friendly doctors are sued less often. One of the keys to people liking you is to build rapport based on common interests. Apple has great customer service and their phone support is trained to find natural connection points (I see you are from Ohio – I used to live there!) to build a connection in the first few minutes of the call.
4. Empower Employees
Mistakes will be made – empower your employees to make things right to minimize the probability that a customer leaves a bad review. Sometimes small gestures can go a long way.
5. Set Expectations + Communicate with Customers
Most people are reasonable (not all). If you are having an issue that you think could result in a negative experience set expectations and acknowledge it.
Imagine if you are seated at a restaurant and the server immediately informs you “We had a big group just come in, so I think the kitchen may be slow and it could take about 30 minutes for your order to be ready. I’ll be sure to keep your drinks topped up while you wait.” This simple warning changes the experience from bad – waiting too long for food – to good – attentive drink refills. It’s a great example of how you can avoid bad reviews.
If you do receive a bad review, don’t panic. It happens. View our tips on how to handle negative reviews.