However, amidst the hustle and bustle of the grand opening, a dissatisfied customer posts a one-star review of the shop online. She claims there was a long wait time, and she will not return.
It’s easy to want to respond to this person and defend your business. After all, you know how much hard work went into the opening and you understand that staff members are still getting familiar with the equipment and routine. So, you quickly post a defensive response. Unfortunately, other customers – and noncustomers too – view it as rude. As a result, you receive additional negative reviews.
This scenario is all too familiar. Negative reviews are commonplace in a world where customers expect instantaneous high-quality service. However, it’s important to think clearly and act deliberately if your response is to be effective.
How to Defuse a Negative Review
- Respond immediately. You should not respond in a moment of anger and say something you will regret. Take some time to reflect on what you want to convey. Remember, screenshots last long after an ill-thought-out post has been deleted.
- Blame others. If you or your staff made an error, take ownership. Deflecting and shifting blame can come across as insensitive and immature.
- Delete the review. Never give the impression that you’re hiding something.
- Make empty promises. If you tell a customer that you will fix an issue, do it. If you know you can’t, be honest. If you overpromise and underdeliver, you seem to make yourself a liar and can potentially add to the negative fallout.
- Understand the reviewer’s perspective. By keeping an open mind and looking at the situation from the customer’s point of view, you may find better ways to approach business practices.
- Respond thoughtfully to the writer. People leave reviews because they want to feel heard. Once you have developed a clear, concise, and sensitive response, acknowledge the user.
- Open the line of communication. If a customer took time to provide insight into your operations, offer the individual the chance to speak offline and discuss the situation. You may find the feedback useful and use it to improve, and the customer may realize she was quick to judge.
- Consider hiring a reputation management firm. Reputation management services can help you protect yourself and your business at any time, but especially during times of transition, stress, or crisis. Thoughtful public relations strategies can improve the ways in which you communicate with the public, online and offline.