HOW TO RESPOND TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS
Dec 18, 2018
4 MINUTE READ
Dec 18, 2018
4 MINUTE READ
Social media platforms have become the primary source for shoppers to research businesses. Positive reviews add up to give your store a competitive advantage, but negative reviews could scare would-be customers from ever stepping foot in your shop. While the best way to keep your reviews on the upswing is through gracious, friendly customer service, there are some proactive steps that you can make to turn user reviews into positive customer engagement opportunities. Social media platforms provide new opportunities to turn disappointed customers into loyal ones. Don’t overlook them.
Get in Touch
Online reviews aren’t calculated and fair representations of how your store operates. They are one customer’s personal experience. As such, you should respond to them personally and not generically. Use their name in the response if they use it in the review. A mistake we often notice, is when owners respond to customer feedback with generic copy-and-paste responses. These may seem efficient, but they defeat the purpose of making customers feel as though they’ve been heard. Make sure to include some details in your response showing that you have actually read their complaints and have considered their input.
Sometimes online reviews can be mean-spirited and untruthful. No matter what, make sure to be warm and gracious in your response. If you do end up taking the customer feedback to heart and instituting changes to your shop’s operation, make sure to get in touch with that customer and thank them personally. That kind of response to criticism sends a clear message to online readers that you take customer service seriously. Managers should always take the extra step to send contact information to discuss the incident further and take steps to rectify any negative experiences.
Don’t be Afraid to Change Store Policy
It’s common to see several customers complain about the same issues. In these instances, user reviews become less about personal grievances, and may demonstrate problems with your business. Feedback becomes especially valuable when it can actually help you improve operations. Customer requests shouldn’t be taken as nagging. If they care enough to give constructive feedback, they are especially valuable customers.
Conversely, it’s a problem to make knee-jerk policy changes based on a few negative reviews. Any changes you make should be thought through. After receiving a few of the same complaints, ask your employees and some regular customers what they think. You might find that there is a less vocal majority that disagrees with recent customer comments. One thing you can do is engage the customers by having them fill out a survey and then that enters them to win something. Engage the customers you do have for feedback!
Once you do decide to institute changes based on customer feedback, make sure that employees know where the idea came from. If the complaints come from problems related to their performance, let them know this as well. Employees who know that customers are holding them accountable will feel more responsible for maintaining standards when managers aren’t around.
Remember that complaints made to employees are just as valuable as online postings for feedback, even if they lack the impact of the internet’s public record. Keep a notebook handy for staff to record customer feedback. If you can make useful changes before complaints reach the internet, that’s even better.
Incentivize Customers to Give You Another Shot
Many business owners have begun experimenting with programs designed to reward customers who provide feedback online. It can be as simple as a discount code for posting any social media review, negative or positive. Many take a more conciliatory approach. If someone posts a disappointing account of shopping at your store, it may be appropriate to offer them an incentive to give you a second chance. It can be as simple as inviting them back for a personal apology at your next tasting event, or as generous as offering a discount.
Take care to institute these incentives discreetly. You don’t want customers to post bad reviews and expect a reward. If you find that the customer has a reasonable complaint, offering them a discount or a voucher is a great way to win their trust back. Most of the time, winning a customer back is well worth the lost margin on a bottle or two.