There you are, minding your own business (literally). You check your social media notifications and whammo! One of your customers blindsides you with a scathing review. What to do? What to do!!
So many businesses are making wonderful use of social media to get their marketing messages out there, growing their communities and spread their brand. It is a seriously powerful tool. But we know some people are hesitant to make the leap because it opens you up to the public sphere where people can share their opinions of your business. That can be nerve-racking. The public is an unknown entity over which you have no control.
If you get a bad review, a negative comment or a defamatory post, what do you do?
Even though you might feel upset or angry about a negative review, it’s important to keep calm and think clearly about a course of action. Avoid responding in anger.
Regardless of what happens with the complainer, your other potential customers are watching. The negative review is up there for everyone else to see. By ignoring it, you are letting the comment go unchallenged, and this might tell onlookers that you don’t care about what you do, or that you don’t care about your customers once the transaction is finished. Don’t let it go unanswered.
Nope. Don’t do that. For starters, in most cases, depending on whether it’s a review, comment or post, you won’t be able to. Neither Google nor Facebook allow reviews to be deleted.
It is far better to respond and take the opportunity to demonstrate your brilliant customer service and amazing product.
If the review is defamatory, vilifying or spammy, you can report it to the review platform (Google, Facebook, etc) and they may remove the comment – it’s not guaranteed that they will agree with you though.
Do your research into the incident. What went wrong when they used your business? Were they actually a customer of yours or do they have you confused with someone else? Know about the incident before you decide how to respond.
Responding slowly is almost as bad and not responding at all. The review is public, so let it be shown alongside a response where you exhibit quality customer service. Great customer service includes replying in a timely manner. The sooner the better.
Think of the exchange as a customer service opportunity. You may not be able to win over this customer, but onlookers can be persuaded this was a storm in a teacup by how you deal with this publicly.
Resist the temptation to argue with the comment or review. It’s not a good look for your business. Be polite.
After you’ve dealt with the negative comment or bad review, the best think you can do is bury it in good reviews. This does not mean to make up false reviews. Encourage your customers to write a review. Do this verbally, with signs in your bricks-and-mortar storefront, or add a line about it to the bottom of your invoice. If someone emails you praise of your product or service, ask them to write a review on Facebook or Google (or your review site). Soon enough, the negative review will be drowned out by your happy customers.
OK, now that you’ve solved the imminent problem, let’s take a step back.
Is there something you can learn from this experience? Even if you think the source of the comment was completely off-base, is there a grain of truth or something you could glean from this experience? Perhaps you need to review your shipping procedures or state more clearly what your customers can expect from your product or service.
Keep an eye out and observe how other brands deal with negative comments or bad reviews. You can learn a lot from lurking on their pages. You’ll see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Note how you begin to feel about the brand based on how they resolve issues.
If social media is part of how you get your brand message out there, treat it as a meaningful part of your business and brand. Learn all you can about creating a great customer experience on social media platforms.
Naomi oversees Technology Matters’ comprehensive social media packages, giving clients the lead in social media and communications.
She doesn’t just post cat videos and memes, either – she’s dedicated to research and reporting, and a hell of a writer.