Preparing for Bad Reviews

“Oh, my gosh, Shelley! There’s a terrible comment on our Facebook page!” Anxious to serve her client, the sales rep urged me to action. “You need to take it down RIGHT NOW!”

What happens when you encounter a less than positive comment or review about your sales team or the products you represent? For me, the first impulse is to report the person as a spammer or harasser to the Facebook police (as if there were such a thing!) and have their account shut down.

However, this doesn’t serve anyone. As you know, bad reviews are a part of doing business. Everyone has a right to their opinion. For good or for bad, social media allows that opinion to be broadcast far and wide. Ignoring or removing the comments doesn’t mean they will go away. Not participating doesn’t stop people from talking; it just means you aren’t part of the conversation.

Knowing that comments and reviews are coming, don’t you think it’s a good idea to plan for them? Here are a few easy steps I suggest you have in place:

Take a moment to listen

Feelings of frustration, anxiety, or anger are normal when a customer complains. It feels personal. But, don’t react immediately.

Breathe. Step away from your computer if you need to. Remember, a bad review is not a personal attack. Rather, it reflects what the person has experienced while conducting business with you or your business. Also, a bad critique is not evidence that the customer is stupid or doesn’t understand your business practices.

Come back and notice the customer is giving the opportunity to fix a problem. Take a moment to “listen” to what they are telling you, what’s wrong, and how you might fix it. View this interaction as an opportunity to improve or to become more attuned to the needs of your clients.

Reach out to the reviewer

This is important. There is always a way to make things better.

Yes, some customers are going to expect too much. But, they are the exception. Reach out to the reviewer with a quick resolution, go the extra mile.

Adding a personalized touch to your response can deescalate the situation by putting a real face to your company. Introduce yourself by first name and job title when practical. Address customers by their first name, and always work towards resolution. If you can, call customer.

Then, write a followup post about how you responded to the complaint or review and improved your service as a result.

Here’s a thought. If you are getting more complaints than compliments, then there is something wrong with your service or products. You might consider ways to react to the issues to prevent continued customer dissatisfaction.

Note: If an individual is launching a personal attack with the intent to smear your company;s name or seems only motivated to stir the pot, trying to please the individual on a public forum might not come to any good. This is when reporting and/or blocking is appropriate.

Share the word

Hopefully, some of your customers are saying nice things about you. What are you doing with those messages? Are you sharing them?

A good testimonial speaks volumes. Ask your customers for permission to share their good words.

Testimonials add a sense of trust. By publishing testimonials from current clients, you are also helping potential customers with their research. You should be proactive in getting these reviews noticed by posting them onto your social media platforms. The effort will not only increase your chances of acquiring new business, but it will also showcase the quality of what you have to offer.

Have a plan in place and always acknowledge reviews, no matter where they come from or who originates them. You may be surprised by what happens next!

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