5 steps to handle negative reviews online

5 steps to handle negative reviews online

Authored by Hari Prasad, E-Commerce Solution Expert at Ameex Technologies on 19 Aug 2019

In today's world, word of mouth has taken an even more powerful form, online reviews. Online reviews can drive more business, build credibility and assurance. When it comes to negative reviews, it can drag all the goodness of a positive review and affect the user perspective about your business, product or services.

Negative reviews are good in a way, it gives you feedback to improve your services/products. It is best to take these reviews very seriously and have them addressed so that you can take lessons from it and not let the review affect your business.

Step 1: Prepare to respond

First, make sure you go through the review completely and get to know the background about the review based on any data available with you. It can be the product/service the customer took from you, the price they paid, the longevity of the relationship with your business, total spend with your business and so on. Next, understand if the review is one off or you see any pattern in this negative review from your customers. Make sure the review is genuine and not from any online bully. With all this information, you can decide if you want to respond to this review and what your next course of action must be.

Step 2: Respond ASAP

Timing is critical, having received a negative review it is important you get back to the customer quickly. If the situation deems an apology, it is fair to apologize for experience leading to this negative review. If it is something that cannot be corrected, like food from a restaurant or decorations for a birthday party or could be a software deployment for a specific event. These cannot be corrected; it is best to apologies and offers it will be corrected the next time you get a chance to serve them. Make sure corrective measures are taken internally to have this corrected as well. If you are willing to offer a coupon or discount on their next purchase, it is best to take it offline.

Step 3: Corrective action

For any situation that can still be corrected, make sure you take all measures to have it corrected, this can be a product that is not performing as expected, ongoing services or subscriptions. These can be corrected and offer how you can correct them. For these situations, it is good if you already have a mechanism that can take care of this situation. It can be a return policy, feedback to higher management and so on. This will let them take other routes than to give negative feedback to start with.

Step 4: Request for the negative feedback to be removed

Once the current situation is resolved, you can politely ask for the negative feedback to be removed. There are high chances the customer could understand and remove the feedback. If they still want to have a negative review online, you can then explain the resolution offered and ask for a business in the future when they can have a better service. This way, other prospects can see how you resolved and wanting a chance to correct it.

Step 5: Quality and continuous improvement

It is a good idea to ask for reviews whenever possible from your customers. Having more positive reviews can dilute the effect of negative reviews. You will see more negative reviews when you have not asked for any reviews from your customers. Asking for reviews will start getting more positive reviews. If the problem is with the understanding or wrong expectations, it is best to have clear communication before the service/product is offered. If needed, have it addresses in FAQ as well.

Have a log of all negative reviews and the correcting measures taken. If you see the same situation in the future, it will be easy to handle the review and helps you to take a different course of action to make it not repeat again.

Depending on how you handle negative reviews, your potential customers will see your positive attitude and consider you trustworthy to engage with your business. Few could even let you know their hesitation based on the negative review, which will give you a chance to reassure of a positive experience. That’s the power of a customer review. It is crucial to stay on top or addressing reviews, this has to be part of your customer engagement process. Once you have a good process in place, you will see a positive shift in your customer response and make way for more business based on the good reviews and how you professionally handled the negative ones.

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