Why Bad Reviews Aren’t Always Bad
No matter your practice, business or medium, you’ll find yourself on the south end of receiving reviews. It’s, unfortunately, an inevitable thing in today’s business world that is focused on technology and social media. Realistically, it’s not all that bad, most people take it as their business failing or wondering how they can delete/remove the review because sometimes it may not be your fault. But receiving bad reviews gives you the opportunity to step into the customer’s shoes instead of seeing your business with your own eyes. Here’s a couple of things to think about when you receive a bad review as well as some steps to take when it happens.
What Does a Bad Review Mean?
This is a touchy subject for a lot of business owners. Many take it personally as if someone “hates” their business or that it will ruin their business because people will no longer visit. Frankly, it’s the opposite (if handled correctly). The biggest question is, how do you handle it correctly once it happens?
Do We Take Reviews Seriously?
There comes the time when a review is left for your business. There then presents two paths that they can be, a good review or a bad review. If it’s a bad review, it’s important to analyze the review and understand how serious the review is. In all businesses, there are people who have a bad experience and become unreasonable in their response. Remember, social media is open to the public, and most reasonable people will understand the difference between a legitimately bad review or a maliciously bad review. That doesn’t mean you just let all bad reviews go by the wayside, in fact, don’t let any. This isn’t to be mistaken for responding to bad reviews in a rude manner. So, what do you do?
Use this Opportunity for “Review Responses”
While it’s always possible you may not agree with the review in question, it’s important that you try to understand their point of view and why they had this experience at your business. Negative feedback can always be a painful thing to deal with, use this opportunity as a constructive learning experience. Ask yourself a set of questions: Does this review reflect from something that’s being done in the business? Is it an unknown or unheard of side effect of your daily business process? Is there a way to mitigate the problem that was pointed out during the review?
Here’s the next step, respond to the review offering to resolve the issue and take the conversation offline. It really is as simple as that. Don’t overthink the review, don’t overthink the response, understand that the reviewer had an issue and took to the masses to let you know. Approach this review exactly as you would a positive review. The most important thing to remember is that on ALL platforms, reviewers can edit their review. What do I mean by this? Someone who writes a 1-star review has the opportunity, after speaking with you and creating a better understanding of the issue, to change their 1-star to a 5-star review and edit the copy.
What does this show about your business? This creates a sense of trust and understanding among your business. Let’s elaborate a bit more on that. If you have two dental offices, both receive the same review of 1-star and negative copy. Dentist A responds to the negative review offering to resolve the issue and offering to bring this conversation offline and develop a business-client relationship. Dentist B leaves the negative review with no response. To the marketer as well as the average consumer this shows the world about ANY business, not just a medical business, that they care. It’s simple. See, Dentist A responded despite the negative review (whether the whole review was true or not) he cared enough to respond and attempt to resolve the issue. Dentist B, to the public eye, let the review sit.
Remember, your business is now available to the public, whether you advertise online or not, the public can let the world know about you.
Resolving the Issue
Reaching out to the customer/client who left the review may become bitter-sweet. It’s possible you may resolve the issue, it’s possible the customer isn’t willing to take it any further and leaves the review, and it’s possible they change the review and resolve the issue.
How do you respond? Sending a quick message introducing yourself and acknowledging and apologizing that there was a bad experience. This allows you to align with the customer and their interests/concerns. After acknowledgment, offer a solution to their problem. This reassures the customer/client that you are taking every step possible to resolve whatever gave them the urge to leave a bad review. To make it better for the consumer and your business, be sure to take the conversation online by offering modes of contact that aren’t related to social media or the web.
Remember, a negative review is never good, but be sure you’re not wasting time being obsessed with the review. Understand that no matter what you do there will always be more clients/customers and more reviews. If you’re worried about your online reputation (and you should be) leave the offer to your customers to review your experience at your practice or business.