So you received a bad review. It was bound to happen eventually. Sometimes, consumers will have a bad experience with your product; and sometimes, they will make sure that you know about it. Whether it was a fair assessment of the customer’s experience or not, you need to make a good response, and maybe even learn from the experience.
In today’s information age, customers can quickly turn a small inconvenience into a large scale smear campaign. Whether it is justified or not, bandwagons are a very real problem, and being slow to react can and will cause the company more trouble than it should.
These customers might launch a bad review on your site or a third-party site such as Yelp – and then take the rant to social media. Or they might go straight to social channels to let loose. Like it or not, these kinds of rants can gather steam from others who have had similar experiences.
“When you get a one-star rating on any retail site or review platform, the customer isn’t just talking about you,” says Leslie O’Flahavan, a writing expert and author of Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents. “Customers who give you poor ratings and reviews are, in fact, talking right to you.”
Fortunately, if one acts fast enough, with appropriate tact and consideration, you can rein it in before their bad reviews and cautionary tales – embellished or not – affect other customers’ opinions and buying decisions. This is very important because more than 80 percent of customers tend to check online reviews before making a purchase decision.
Here are a few ways you can make a five-star response to a one-star rating.
This is always the first step. While the gut reaction to a negative review, especially one that seems unreasonable, is to get defensive, the best way to start the response is with an apology. Real or perceived, the customer feels slighted and will respond best when someone acknowledges it. Most, if not all people, will be more receptive to your response if they believe you are taking responsibility.
A customer who leaves a negative review is someone who feels they did not get their money’s worth out of their product. You should do all your can to make up for this. You might offer to replace or refund a product or re-establish or extend a service. Or maybe you can offer special access to a resource, such as a customer service pro, technician or other expert. If all else fails, you could even try offering a different product or service that could meet their expectations.
Personal reviews deserve personal responses. Try to avoid using generic sounding language and scripted responses. If possible, use the customer’s given name and address the issue they have directly.
You don’t have to agree with customers who give negative reviews, and you most definitely don’t want to disagree with them. But you want to let them know you respect how they feel. That’s empathy.