Online Reviews — They’re Not Gonna Be Ignored, Dan!
by Erik Burns
Online reviews – oh how we love the positive ones and hate the negative ones! Seeing those four- and five-star reviews can make us feel really great about our business and the service we provide, and then along come those two- and one-star reviews to pierce holes in our happy bubbles. It is even tempting to wish we had the power to delete the negative reviews and bask in only the good reviews. It is okay to feel this way – we have all been there! However, since Facebook, Yelp, and the other major review sites will not let users delete the negative reviews, businesses have to learn how to handle these bad reviews. Here are a few ways that have helped us, and they can work for you too!
As we mentioned earlier, it is all too easy to want to ignore every bad review and only acknowledge those that are good. When we see a glowing review on, say, Facebook, we hit “LIKE” and thank the author for leaving such wonderful comments about the business. For the negative reviews, we likely groan and try to keep scrolling. We have even heard people say that no response at all is the best way to handle these critiques. This is not a good business practice. Think of it this way: if the person were in your business telling you why he or she is upset or angry, you would not walk away and ignore them altogether. You would try to resolve the issue and do your best to turn the situation around. Ignoring the bad reviews is the same as ignoring the customer in person! Acknowledge the review, and let the person feel heard.
This leads to the next reason why you should not ignore bad reviews. Responding lets you take control of the situation! If you do not address a negative review, then others searching for your business online will see the review and likely believe the worst about your business. When they see that you take customer complaints seriously, it cushions whatever negative impact there possibly is. They see you doing your best to rectify the situation, and you have just played a role in how your company is perceived. You helped reshape the situation, and this is crucial for any business owner.
Finally, taking negative reviews seriously may also help you learn about how your employees are doing one-on-one with the customers. Whether you are the owner or the manager, it is impossible to micromanage every single person who works in the business. Especially for bigger businesses, things will happen that you will not always hear about at work. An unflattering review may reveal things about an employee’s customer service skills – or lack thereof – that you otherwise might not ever discover. Thanks to the negative review, you are able to address the behavior, and hopefully there will not be any more reviews written about the employee.
Thank you for reading this blog today. In the comments, please let us know how you feel about online reviews. Do you have any further advice about how to deal with them that we may have left out? Do you feel there is something we are doing wrong when it comes to online customer complaints? Share your thoughts – we promise to read even the negative comments, obviously!
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