Warren Buffett, a successful American businessman, investor and philanthropist, once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Your online reputation is largely determined by what your customers are saying about you, and one negative online review can be the difference between gaining a new customer and losing one to your competitors. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The way you react and respond to negative reviews is just as important to your reputation as receiving 100 positive reviews can be. It’s impossible to control what upset customers are saying, but it is possible to control how you respond to them. Customers are looking to be heard, whether to praise or criticize, and how you respond influences their decision to continue do business with you, as well as influencing a prospect’s decision to do business with you. Below are some tips for handling negative reviews.
- Don’t ignore reviews, address them quickly. Pretending that you never saw negative reviews, or even worse, deleting them, will only make the situation harder to recover from. Today’s customers expect transparency and want their comments to be seen by others. As prospects, and even current customers, are looking into your dealership, they want to see how you handled negative reviews. Deleting and ignoring reviews make it seem like you do not care about satisfying your customers. Addressing reviews will allow you the opportunity to show off your great customer service, as customers will feel important and also see your resolution plan. Constantly monitoring your social platforms and review sites will ensure that you are addressing all reviews in a timely manner.
- Don’t hide from your mistakes, acknowledge them. Let’s face it, sometimes things happen and your customer service isn’t at its best all the time. Admitting that you made a mistake is one of the best things you can do as a company to help turn a bad review into a positive experience. Apologize, be respectful, address their concerns, and offer a solution. Even if you can’t resolve the complaint right away, taking the time to respond and letting them know you are working on a resolving the problem, lets the customer know you value them.
- Don’t get defensive, be calm and personable. The first reaction for many when they receive a negative review is to immediately start defending their business. However, this can make the situation even worse as your passion may come off as hostility, and you could end up losing more customers. Instead, try to stay calm and collected, and handle each review on a case by case basis. Instead of providing a canned response, which can make customers feel that you do not value their feedback, create personal responses for each individual concern to show you care about them. And don’t forget to take the time to thank them for providing feedback!
No one is perfect, so remember that at some point, there will be a customer who is not satisfied with the level of service they received at your dealership. And sometimes a customer is just looking to be heard. The way you handle it can make a huge difference! Allowing them to vent to you instead of telling 10 of their friends you may do business with you allows you the opportunity to respond quickly, control the situation and hopefully resolve it. Plus, after all, your negative reviews can end up shedding light on an area of your business that needs improvement to help you become even more successful.
Have you received negative reviews before? How did you handle them?