When you consider doing business with a company, it’s common to look up their online reviews. It’s only natural to want to hear what others have to say about the service, competency, or experience. As a business, it’s critical for you to have a online customer service strategy in place.
Business owners often have a love/hate relationship with reviews and the online customer service that goes along with them. On one hand, they offer a space for patrons to sing your praises. On the other, you can’t please everyone – nor can you control what they write online about you. That’s why it’s incredibly important to have a strategy to handle negative reviews.
This is how you sometimes WANT to respond in an online customer service environment
4 tips for how you SHOULD respond with online customer service
1. Keep it professional – While it’s tempting to defend yourself or recount the details of the customer’s behavior during the experience in question, it’s rarely a good look. Nor is suggesting the reviewer go play in traffic, take a flying leap, cry to their mama, or anything else that would be incredibly satisfying to say but not in your professional best interest. No one ever wins when debating online.
2. Do your best to take it off-line – Offer to call the reviewer, ask the reviewer to call you, or suggest they stop in to talk to a manager. Words on a screen are subject to dramatic interpretation (thank you Jimmy Fallon and Aziz Ansari for the perfect example). Real people having a real conversation resolve problems. Plus, by publicly offering to connect with the reviewer you convey that you’re interested in hearing about their experience and you’re making yourself available to them. If they choose not to engage further with you, that’s on them.
3. Have a few templates ready to deploy – You can’t please everyone. Say it aloud with me. “I can’t please everyone.” There will be reviews that are worthy of a investigation and those that aren’t. Start with these three responses and customize them as necessary.
- “Thank you for letting us know about your experience. We’ll look into it.”
- “Thank you for sharing thoughts about your visit. We strive to satisfy our customers. Please call us or come in to speak with a manager so we can learn more.”
- “Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. Sometimes criticism of our services is hard to hear, but it often leads to positive change. We appreciate your willingness to give us that opportunity to improve.”
4. When you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all – Your mom wasn’t wrong. When you’ve attempted to reach out to the reviewer, yet they continue to berate you online, don’t engage. Trust us on this – going toe-to-toe in the virtual world with a reviewer who is intent on making you look bad is NEVER a good idea. You’ll come off as defensive, immature, and easily provoked, even if none of those characterizations are accurate. A virtual argument will speaker louder than the most glowing of reviews. Disengage totally.
Did someone leave a negative online review for your business? How did you handle it?