Negative Reviews: What they Mean and How to Handle Them

May 11, 2016

It’s official, social media is slowly becoming the most influential factor for purchasing decisions. Customer reviews being a crucial part of this decision making process.

I’m part of this group of consumers who use reviews when making a purchasing decision. I often use Yelp, Google+, Facebook, Blogs, and Instagram to decide where to eat, where to stay, what movie to rent, what phone to buy, destination to travel to etc.

A simple google of best coffee shop in Brooklyn can take you to a Yelp page that shows a coffee shop with a 4.5-star rating and a slew of mouth watering positive feedback. This is something I did a couple weeks back on my trip to the Big Apple. And this is a technique I use pretty much every weekend of my life when I’m ready to make a purchase.

For ALL brands, you’re bound to get a negative review. The dreaded 1-star… Maybe your barista just got broken up with by her boyfriend, or the customer had a vendetta with your head chef. Regardless, the difference between a negative review damaging your brand and your quick fingertips salvaging it, is in the way you respond to the given review.

How to Handle a Negative Business Review on Social Media?

  1. Respond immediately – the faster your company’s response the better your customer service rating becomes and the better your chances are to get this unhappy customer to give your brand another chance.
  2. Respond uniquely – respond to each person with a uniquely created response that is tailored to their specific experience.
  3. Offer something in return – whether it be your time, a discount, or a personalized message, make sure that their poor experience is compensated by your team.
  4. Do not get defensive – I see a lot of business owners start mini-wars after a customer leaves a bad review… This make me cringe, and is also a horrible idea. Remember the customer is ALWAYS right!
  5. Keep your response public – when someone leaves a public review, make sure that your response is also public. The customers who are about to make these purchasing decisions will be more likely to overlook a bad review if your company was prompt to respond in a positive manner and offer a solution or apology. This affirms the new customer that you care.

When customers are weighing so much of their purchasing habits on social media feeds and reviews, there’s nothing worse for business than an unresponded to review. It’s in your company’s best interest to make a priority of watching your social media feeds like a hawk. And make sure that you’re giving your best when it comes to social customer service.