So, you’ve gotten a terrible review from a disgruntled customer and are scared of the repercussions. Now what?
Thanks to social media, booking platforms and open review sites such as Trip Advisor, it’s easy for business owners to fear the effects of a negative review. Negative reviews can be a strong deterrent for potential new customers, even more so when a negative review manages to amass a large amount of unwanted attention. Not all hope is lost, though.
At SHI, we help business owners understand how to turn negative reviews into positive results. Here are some of our top tips:
Tip 1: Do your research
Before you reply to the negative review in question, do your research. Read it, circulate it around the department(s), and ask questions. Investigate the circumstances and reasons this review was given in order to prepare a response.
Tip 2: Give a timely response
Timing is key. The faster a negative review is addressed, the more manageable the discussion. A negative review can quickly be turned around with a quick response. Effective customer service demonstrates professionalism and integrity.
Tip 3: Remember loyal customers are responsive
Customers who booked with you did so for a reason – it could have been your marketing campaign, a recommendation or a business trip. These are good customers but they received a shock and openly voiced their opinion. Once you are ready to make your response, try to include a positive by reminding them what it is that made them choose you in the first place.
Tip 4: Be appreciative
Negative feedback, when fair and accurate, can allow your company to deal with legitimate problems in a way that makes your business stronger. You are being given a chance to improve, and you’re being shown a weak point and a chance to excel at customer service.
Tip 5: Take Responsibility
Take responsibility in your response. You may not agree with the review, but fighting back does not help! Having investigated what caused the negative review, it is important that your response acknowledges where faults were made. The more accountable you are through your response, the more credible you are, and the more likely people will want to do business with you in the future.
This last point is particularly important. When complaints are justified, it opens the door to improvement, and greater success over the long term. If negative reviews become repeat offenders they allow you insight into a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
It’s not likely that business owners are going to ever be entirely comfortable with receiving negative feedback from customers, but the smart ones will learn to turn it to their advantage. Remember that your audience are also astute, they will see through the blatant and petty complainers which can occur, but those negative reviews that appear well written and justified need a response so that your audience see that you care.
Star Tip : Never offer anything complimentary via the review site
When you respond to any negative review, never include the offer of anything for free in your response. This might just encourage others to post negative reviews or to exaggerate a review so that they also get the offer of something for free. If you really feel that a gesture should be made, where possible contact the reviewer direct or make a private reply via the review site (Trip Advisor offer this service).
For more information on this or any other matters relating to hospitality business, please contact us at Secret Hotel Inspector.