There was a great thread on the WSJ Accelerators blog series about handling negative reviews. The “experts” weren’t necessarily talking about local businesses, but they could have been. Their strategy was spot-on in nearly every way. Here are the reasons you should embrace negative reviews.
1. It’s much easier to keep an existing customer than gain a new one.
When somebody complains, it is generally because they expect something and didn’t get it. It’s certainly true that some people are just unreasonable – their expectations are too high or they are just too demanding. But that’s usually the minority. And when you fix somebody’s problem and thrill them? They typically wind up being your biggest advocate. This is exactly what David Cohen said in this post. Negative feedback is an opportunity, not a problem.
Even if you can’t turn around every unhappy customer, negative reviews provide you with huge opportunities to learn, so whatever you do, don’t ignore them. The most critical customers who post the most awful reviews can sometimes present you with your biggest opportunities. And don’t let the small minority of customers who will just never be satisfied color your ability to provide great service and feedback to the majority of customers who will truly appreciate your efforts to make their problem “right”.
2. Timing matters
The time it takes you to respond to a complaint is important. Ryan Holmes brings up some funny and interesting stories of the lengths customers have gone to call out bad service.
Customer service in the age of social media makes things more immediate. You can respond from your smart phone to a tweet or an email. People are so busy that they are focused on a particular issue in the moment – it’s best to respond when you have their attention. A short, focused answer given immediately is usually better than a more detailed and thoughtful reply later. In fact, you can do both.
3. It’s about conversations
Andrea Mallard correctly states that “the goal isn’t to handle complaints – the goal is to enable conversations”.
This is what the best business realize – that getting feedback is great, but it’s just the beginning. A chance to engage your customers and really figure out what makes them tick. And when you do these conversations publicly, other people get to see how much you care – that is worth something to prospective customers who don’t know anything about you. Showing off your human side online is giving them a small glimpse of what it will be like to be your customer.
4. It differentiates your business
I don’t believe Cheryl Snapp Conner is aware of Bizyhood (yet), but she may as well been when she wrote these 6 tips for business owners on handling negative reviews.
Our goal at Bizyhood is to assist you as a business owner to cultivate a fearless attitude toward customer reviews. Embrace them – all feedback is valuable, whether they are singing your praises or expressing concern. The best businesses embrace feedback of all types and show the world how much they care about their customers – and tools like Bizyhood give those businesses a simple and easy way to do that online – allowing those businesses to thrill their customers online and let the world know it!