Are you annoyed by customers leaving bad reviews unfairly? Are you fed up with the whole idea of online reviews?
Well, read on ….
There’s a lot of talk about ‘bad’ online reviews, and the negative effect they can have on any business, and indeed many acres of print have been devoted to legal routes and fighting them.
But we work with Businesses across the UK and have helped them develop a different response that works to:
- Reduce stress and time.
- Improve your PR whether the review is ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
- Help turn any review into extra business.
So, what’s the secret and what can you do about these ‘bad’ reviews?
There are 4 steps:
Step 1: Accept that the world has changed and the customer really is in charge
- Social media and online review sites have empowered the customer like nothing before: this is a genuine revolution in consumer behaviour, not a fad
- Don’t swim against the tide, you’ll be like King Canute …. Pointless and frustrating.
- Remember, it’s just a new way of doing business and there MUST be a way to make it a success: you see successes every day in the news: Ebay, AirBnB, Uber etc
Point 2: Genuinely put the desire to give a ‘Great Customer Experience’ at the heart of all you do.
- In this new world, you can ONLY be genuinely successful in the long term if you change the ‘business mantra’ from:
- ‘We’re here to make money, and we also want to be nice to the customer’.
- To: ‘We’re here to be loved by the customer, if we do this well the money will follow, not the other way round’
- This ‘customer communication revolution’ genuinely affects EVERYTHING you do, so you need to filter all your systems and processes through these beliefs.
- Example of success: The Monkton Inn: a small village pub outside Taunton increased turnover from under £1000 per week to over £12000 per week in under 7 months by genuinely adopting these principles.
Point 3: Put proactive feedback systems in place.
- Don’t wait for a customer review to appear on Google: it’s too late!
- If you don’t actively demonstrate to the customer that you really DO care and really DO want their feedback, they’ll assume (usually correctly) that you don’t.
- Put proactive feedback systems in place to help them tell you what you need to know (to get Point 2 right!) These will vary according to the business, but may well include:
- Tokens and feedback boxes (these work like magic in a pub)
- Active Twitter engagement (customer like this)
- Telephone feedback
- Facebook page for feedback and engagement
- Online systems
- (Remember: as this is now such a vital part of your business, it’s really important to spend time and effort putting a proper professional system in place: not just using a simple ‘off the shelf’ tool).
Point 4: React clearly and positively to all public online reviews: there’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ online review…
- KEY point: you are NOT responding to the individual, you are demonstrating your personality to the world – this is FREE PR and marketing, pure and simple.
- Calm your ego: customers are NOT always right (but they ARE always the customer)!
- Respond to ALL reviews: otherwise it looks like you don’t care (This is VERY important)
- Customers are 3X more interested in your response than the review: they know that people can be awkward: what they’re interested in is what you’re like when you respond!
- Negative reviews are read 5X more than positive reviews: responding to these properly is a HUGE opportunity.
And lastly: ‘bad’ reviews: well, these fall into 2 categories:
‘Valid’ and ‘False’
For ‘Valid’ reviews, take it on the chin, ask them to contact you offline, and state publicly what you aim to be great at and how brilliantly you would have handled this complaint if it had been made direct to you at the time: Free publicity for how great you are.
For ‘False’ reviews, treat them exactly the same,
- Ask them politely and kindly to contact you offline.
- State your commitment to great customer experiences (and all the steps that you’re taking every day to make this a genuine reality)
- Apologize for what needs apologizing for, and state what you DO do and DON’T do (eg: you don’t need to apologise for not selling meat if you’re a vegetarian restaurant!) … and why this is.
- State what you would have done if they had brought this to your attention at the time.
- Reiterate your commitment to feedback and wanting to get it right for the customer.
- If you can manage it, add a little humour and ‘tongue in cheek’ comments: the reader will pick it up: after all, you need to show that you can take a joke!
Example of excellence: Pizzeria Delfina, San Francisco: this very successful restaurant suffered from a barrage of negative 1-star reviews, orchestrated by competitors. How did they react? Did they complain to the platform to get the reviews taken down? No, they had T Shirts printed with all the negative comments posted on them: not only did people see the joke, but also, they benefited from massive publicity by doing this … and opened up a new avenue of sales!
If you manage all the above well, you should also get MANY more positive reviews online – that’s GREAT: it’s free marketing to the people who are interested! Fantastic!
So: there’s no such thing as ‘bad’ reviews, and, by the way, there’s no such thing as ‘bad’ feedback: it’s how you respond to it that makes all the difference.
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Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.
Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … all without sacrificing principles or profits.
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