You’ve started your home business and are doing your best to provide the highest quality products and services as you can. Maybe you’re even getting positive comments from customers and clients about your business. But at some point, someone will complain, fuss, or be downright mean in a review.
Getting negative reviews can hurt. They can even make you angry and defensive. How you respond, can make or break your home business, so it’s important to know the art of responding to bad feedback.
Here are tips for how to respond to negative reviews in your home business:
Know What’s Being Said About Your Home Business
While you don’t want to waste time refreshing the comment page to check reviews, you do want to keep a steady eye on what’s being said about you across your online platforms. This is especially true if you outsource some of your work, such as using a social media manager to post on your accounts. While your social media manager can monitor what’s being said about you, it doesn’t hurt to keep track of it yourself as well. Whether you hire out or need to do it yourself, you can manage your online reputation, using tools such as Google Alerts. If you use a social media tool, such as Hootsuite, you can easily set up a feed that lists your mentions for your networks. Another option is to use Yext, a tool not only can monitor social media but also places such as Yelp.
Take a Deep Breath
When you find a comment, feedback, or a review that isn’t positive, take a deep breath. Your initial reaction will likely be negative, either feeling hurt, or angry and defensive. While this is normal, as a business owner, it’s unwise to strike back out of anger. Further, it’s possible there is some truth to the review that you need to know about and deal with.
After you feel the initial “ouch” of the comment, take a deep breath to calm your emotions, so you can then decide what to do next.
Determine If There is Truth to the Review
Once you’ve taken a calming breath, re-read the comment with an eye towards what is being said about you or your product/service and decide if the negativity has merit. Did the product show up late? Did you fail to respond to an email? Did your barking dog in the background make the coaching call difficult to hear?
There are times when a negative review is justified, and, if you respond accordingly, it gives you the opportunity to improve your service.
Decide If You Should Respond
Not all reviews need or should have a response from you. Sometimes people are just mean or rude, and there’s no need to respond to that.
However, there are times when a response is important. A thoughtful, customer-oriented response can help you save a customer/client, as well as show potential customers/clients that you’re responsive to their needs.
If the review indicates that the problem is an error on your end or something that can be fixed or improved on, consider responding to it.
See If You Can Make the Situation Right
If you determine that the reviewer has a legitimate complaint and you’d like to try and fix it, here’s how to respond.
- Make sure you’re responding in a timely manner. You’ll make it worse if your response comes six months or a year later.
- Respond directly to the person leaving the negative review.
- Thank them for taking the time to leave a review, and if there is something positive mentioned in the review, thank them for that too.
- Apologize for the problem.
- Offer a solution that will make it right, or indicate changes you’ve made the remedy the situation. For example, if the problem was a glitch in your online system, mention how you fixed it.
Depending on your home business, more direct contact to deal with an angry client/customer might be prudent. For example, you might call an angry client to personally help them, as opposed to just posting help online.
Always Be Polite and Professional
No matter the review or the response from the customer/client, you want to retain a polite and professional attitude. Getting angry and lashing out at a customer, even if it’s justified, will only hurt you, especially in this age of viral content.
Often, maintaining your composure and helpful attitude will diffuse the situation and calm the client/customer. Sometimes, he might even apologize for being so rude. But even if the person continues to be negative, your business brand can’t afford to have its reputation hurt by an angry client/customer. If you continue to be polite and offer to help, other readers of the review will see that, and recognize that you’re a business doing its best to remedy a bad situation.