Imagine being judged before someone gets to know you. Sounds pretty common right? They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but often times, we do. This is especially true for online reviews. When we want to try a new product or service, the first thing to do is to look at what other people are saying about it online. Then, if we’re not happy with what we see, we tend to skip over and look at reviews for the competition. All it takes is that one client who had an unsatisfactory experience to plant a negative seed in a prospects head. Yikes! What is a small business owner to do?
It’s always easier to ignore the negative and to let the positive shine, but although it may be harder, fixing the issue is the best way to go. When you take the time to listen to the negative feedback, a lot of good can come from it. You can help serve clients better, make improvements and show the industry that you are a company that stands on values and character because you care about everyone’s voice. You listen, acknowledge where you might have gone wrong, and you work towards creating a better customer service experience. You do this not for those five stars that people judge you for, but you do it because your goal is to serve each client better.
Take a Good Look in the Mirror
- This is probably one of the hardest things many small businesses deal with. Receiving negative feedback can be tough, and many times it can catch us off guard.Recently, we had a client that had been with us for a couple of years. When inquiring about their satisfaction with our services, it turns out that they were extremely unhappy. We, as a company, had to look ourselves in the mirror and put ourselves in their shoes. What could we have possibly done wrong if they had been with us for years? Lack of communication is where we missed the mark. Because they had been with us for so long, their account information was out of date. We had records of employees that no longer worked there, their call instructions had changed, and we didn’t know.
- This was a big communication lesson for us! We had lacked on following up more frequently. We expected our client to reach out to us, when we should have been more consistent in reaching out to them. Why should we reach out to clients to see if everything is running smoothly? Why is it our responsibility to see if everything is up to date? Simple. Because providing exceptional customer service is in our company values, so everything we do should align with that.
Turn It Around
- One of the first things you should do is contact the person directly. You can only get to the root of the problem if you go directly to the source. Ask what is wrong. Ask what you can do to change their experience around. Learn to listen to their frustrations. Realize that you don’t have to be defensive. You absolutely do not want to fight fire with fire. There’s no point in going head to head with a customer. You may win the argument, but in the end, you still lost.
- What seems to work the majority of the time is to see how you can make things right. If they had a bad experience, it can be that you and your staff were just off that day. Apologize to the client and assure them that it won’t happen again. Prove it by offering another product, another complimentary dinner, another complimentary service, or whatever it is that you do. Allow them to give you a second chance. If your product/service is what you say it is, then there is no reason why they shouldn’t be satisfied the second time around. It also shows others that you have a desire to make things right. When you acknowledge their concern and work towards fixing it, consider asking the client to modify their review.