Unfortunately, you cannot make everybody happy. The problem is, however, that the internet has enabled people to tell you – and everybody else – when they are unhappy. You simply cannot avoid this. All you can do is focus on your online reputation management and learn how you can respond to people who say bad things about you. Working with a professional company is a great way to make sure that you never miss an bad review, but it will be up to you to formulate a positive response.
How to Respond to Criticism
You must at all times remain professional in your response. This means:
- Properly reading the complaint so that you can find out what the actual issue is. If someone writes a 1,000 word essay describing their entire experience in your store, culminating in a shop assistant not giving them the attention they wanted, the key issue is your customer service. Don’t address everything else, because this will make the conversation too complex and will get emotions running high.
- Research before you answer. In the example above, identify who the shop assistant was and get their side of the story. Speak to other staff members to find out whether this incident was isolated, or whether it is recurring. You have to know what you are dealing with.
- Always start by apologizing for your customer having had a bad experience and thank them for telling you about it. This does not mean you admit fault, but shows that you are listening.
- Make sure you use your own name and what your role within the company is. This gives everything a personal connection.
- Respond within 48 hours of the complaint having been received, preferably sooner. People don’t want to wait for a reply, because they will only get angrier. Not just that, the longer you wait, the more opportunity you give other people to get involved in the conversation and add their own little bit of experience.
Keeping Your Reputation Positive
It is very important that you engage in some damage control when a negative review comes in. However, you also have to do more. Put out the fires of criticism and then make sure that the rest of your online efforts stay positive. Yes, you have to be reactive to complaints, but you have to be proactive every day to make sure you continue to look positive and professional. This means you have to monitor and track your presence, and update your information all the time.
Preventing Bad Reviews
As stated, there is no way for you to prevent bad reviews, because you simply cannot make everybody happy. Naturally, you can work as hard as you can to not give people a chance to have anything to complain about. At the same time, you should make sure that people talk to you, not about you on different channels, so that you keep some control. A bad review is not the end of the world, so long as you handle it properly.