While the dawn of the internet has brought us e-commerce and a brand new channel to market, it has also empowered the consumer in an unprecedented way. Websites like Trip Advisor and Review Centre have given unhappy customers a very public platform on which to vent their spleen about any perceived injustice and this can have business owners running for cover.
All of this can be quite scary for business owners who can start living in fear of the dreaded online bad review. Unlike any other form of review, this is as public as it gets, and often they can appear on the first page of the search results pages when somebody Googles your business name. But instead of being terrified of what the next review has in store, is it possible to turn a bad review into a marketing success?
This is how to use your best customer service skills combined with a little marketing nous to turn that bad review into something a little more positive.
- When a bad review appears, try and establish what the complainant is and start looking through the details of their order to find out what, if anything, went wrong. Approach the individual involved and offer to put right the problem that they have. Most importantly, leave a reply on the review website to say that you are looking into the issue so that you are making a public show of fixing the problem.
- Actually go to the effort of resolving the problem and do it as quickly as possible. It is all too easy to say you are looking into something then take a month to tell them there’s nothing you can do. People aren’t stupid so look after them as if they’ve complained once, they’ll do it again if you mess around, so provide an exemplary level of service in fixing the customer’s problem.
- Never overlook the fact that they have the details of your review page, so the odd free gift or discount code is never a bad idea as a means of apology if the problem was your fault.
- Once you have resolved the problem to the customer’s satisfaction, ask them to leave a follow up review on the same page. You will often find that these reviews are some of the best ones you will get, so it is worth the effort in resolving the situation.
Of course, you will get the odd complainant who just cannot be pacified, is complaining even though nothing is wrong or is just plain stubborn. In these situations you should visibly update the review page with the actions that you have taken to fix it, an apology where necessary and a note to say that despite all you have done, the customer was unresponsive. If despite your efforts the customer just won’t play ball, tell the world as the complainant is the one that will be shown in a bad light, not your company.
If you are willing to put the effort in to resolve genuine complaints then it is perfectly possible to turn bad reviews into five star ones. Maintain excellent levels of customer service and always report back to the review page with the actions you have taken. If it’s your fault, say sorry. If it’s not, explain the situation concisely, but never leave a bad review without having given your side of the story.
About The Guest Author: Alan Grainger is an in-house B2B web marketer in the promotional gifts sector and manages SEO for The Corporate Gifts Company. He writes articles exploring the issues faced by the B2B web marketer, giving an “in the trenches” view from an in-house SEO department.