Few things in life as a small business owner in the 21st century inspire more dread than a bad review. If you’ve been paying any attention to our blog posts here at LinkNow Media, you’ll know that we’re obsessed with reviews and “how they can impact your SEO” . And in fact, most consumers take reviews into account when they are searching for information on products.
So when your business gets a dreaded one-star review, it can feel like the end of the world. But it absolutely isn’t. In fact, it might just be the best thing that happens to your business this week.
When Life Hands You Lemons, Paint Them Gold
The first step to reclaiming your company’s reputation after a bad review?
Take a deep breath. Now is not the time to let powerful emotions take sway. And you will be experiencing powerful emotions! After all, your business isn’t only your livelihood, it’s so much more than that. It’s your raison d’etre. It’s what gets you bounding out of bed in the morning. When someone leaves a bad review, it feels personal.
What we see time and time again in dealing with small business owners is an immediate defensive response. The business owner will reply to the review, but immediately attack the reviewer’s character. This person is a liar. We never worked with them. This customer was mentally unwell!
Never do this.
It does not matter whether or not you and the client had a disagreement. The customer might even be lying (more on that below). Never ever attack the customer as a review response strategy.
It will immediately make you, the business owner, look like someone who leverages their power in order to get their way. Because you have to remember here that, from the outside, it looks like you have the power here, and that this customer is merely trying to make amends for how they were treated.
What do you do instead?
Reach out, with compassion and humility. You do not have to admit to anything you did not do, but you can apologize for the fact the customer had a negative experience.
Be kind but remain in control. Which means diplomatically expressing your condolences and promising to make amends in some regard. Maybe that means offering a discount on future services. Or maybe it requires something more serious like a policy review.
But remember that you are the face and voice of your business. Remember: magnanimity is something that looks good on absolutely everybody.
If you need to take time to get into the right headspace to do this, then do so.Remember that customers aren’t looking for an instant response, but the right response.
But I can still hear you saying, the review really is fake! I’ve never had that customer!
It doesn’t matter. Respond graciously. If it’s false, respond graciously and quietly report the review.
And don’t lose sleep. You’ll be okay. And soon, people will know your business as kind and professional under fire, which is worth its weight in gold stars.