I Ain’t Afraid of No Post! A Pep Talk About Bad Reviews
The thought of a bad review… I can’t even. With some of the horrible reviews you see on Facebook, Yelp, and other sites, a business owner’s reluctance to even have a presence on social media is understandable. But, is simply not participating really the best strategy?
Where customer feedback is concerned, having a Facebook page isn’t too different than having a brick-and-mortar location. Let’s say you have a coffee shop, for example. One day a customer could stand up in a huff and start telling everyone they found something gross in their coffee. Wouldn’t that be terrible?! You’d have to find a way to make it up to that person and keep the incident from driving away other customers. At the same time, however, you could overhear a happy customer tell their friends they’ve never had a better latte in all their life. When that moment comes you’ll be wishing they would tell the world.
Let me play devil’s advocate here for a second, though. Social media is different. Bad reviews can stay up for years and reach exponentially more people than word-of-mouth in real life. And in more and more cases, social media is where consumers are making their buying decisions. People are asking their Facebook friends what products and services to choose. Serious influences exist that are out of your control, which makes marketing your business on social media feel a bit like sticking your neck out.
It’s true. The consumer-facing environment can be kind of scary these days. Somewhere along the line it become commonplace for people to fly off the handle, breathe fire, and make threats when they feel they’ve been wronged by a business. Sometimes they can be downright nasty or even completely false, but that’s another conversation. The point is, we all need to be more conscious of our customers’ feelings and points of view.
These are the days when providing great service can win you customers even if you make a mistake or miss the mark otherwise. A bad review is an opportunity for you to show how understanding and accommodating you can be. Your response could win over the bad reviewer and anyone else who reads it.
On Opportunity in Disguise
This concept reminds me of a book I read in college called The Firm of the Future by Paul Dunn and Robert J. Baker. I unearthed said book and thankfully, as any good college student would, I had highlighted the good parts. The information and ideas here are even more true today than they were in 2003. Here are some of the key takeaways:
When Marriott guests had a problem during their stay and it was corrected before they left the hotel, 94% of those customers returned.
“Everything you need to know about handling mistakes you learned in nursery school: acknowledge your error, fix it immediately, and say you’re sorry.” – Carl Sewell
“It’s better to spend money refunding clients when they are not satisfied than to forfeit money in lost accounts for the same reason.” – Hal Rosenbluth
Also read: 4 Cool Headed Strategies for Responding to Negative Comments Online via EntrepreneurNeed another reason to stick it out with social media and handle bad reviews in stride? Think about it this way: When people want to tell the world about their bad experience, they will. If you aren’t around to respond, who knows how many potential customers will read that and decide to take their business elsewhere?
In the words of Don Draper (swoon), “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”