I’m Never Coming Back, and Your Business Should Burn in Hades
And other tales of bad reviews
“My best friend is a small business owner, and I once sold Girl Scout cookies. I know what customer service means and let me tell you. Your company doesn’t, and it’s going to go out of business because of it!” –Angry in Arkansas
If your business exists on any sort of social media platform whether it’s Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business…odds are you’ve been absolutely shredded by a disgruntled customer. Perhaps you deserved it — maybe you have an employee who is prone to having emotional outbreaks or taking out their anger on your unsuspecting customers. Or you genuinely tried your best, and your team just missed the mark on communicating effectively to solve whatever the issue was. Either way, that review is still there, staring you in the eye every time you visit your company page. How do you respond to bad reviews without stoking the fire?
Do your research.
You can’t assume that the employee who handled the situation knows the whole story. Question other team members to see if they observed either the customer or the employee involved. Who got heated first, or who was the one to really escalate the situation? On the other hand, you also can’t assume the customer was being 100% truthful with the review. We all know about keyboard warriors and how, when we’re really heated over something, there’s a temptation to embellish a story. Find out where the communication went wrong before you make any assumptions either way.
In some cases, bad reviews has to do with a customer not being aware of a certain protocol or company policy. Whether or not it is actually the customer’s fault — never accuse them of ignorance. If they didn’t know your store was closed for a holiday and they weren’t able to pick up the products they desperately needed and a child’s birthday party was ruined in the process, what could your team have done better to make absolutely sure that the closure was common knowledge? Even if there is something that the customer could have done to find out the information they needed, do not blame them.
If you sincerely think that the customer is fully in the wrong, it doesn’t matter. You must take responsibility, and you must apologize for the situation. It’s not about accepting responsibility. You have to be above that. Yes, it may be demeaning to apologize for something you didn’t do, but if you don’t, they will absolutely remember. Then you might be accused of “not even being sorry” about what happened. The point is, the customer is unhappy about something, and you have to make it right. The easiest way to do this is to simply apologize and ask how you and your team could have done better so that next time, everything goes over swimmingly.
It is my firm belief that receiving a negative review is actually an opportunity for your business to flaunt its customer service skills. This applies to the pool and spa industry as well as any industry that relies on customer service to develop long-term clients and thriving business relationships. It may seem like pandering to give out refunds easily or apologize for mistakes that might have not even happened. But the opportunity lies in the potential for that negative review to become a positive review. Many people judge a company on its problem solving abilities and its motivation to correct perceived (or sometimes not) mistakes or wrongs. By taking the extra time to give your customers more attention, you are showing them that you really do care.
Here at The Get Smart Group, we’re all firm believers in providing excellent customer service and strive to help our clients do the same for their customers. Even if it means we assist you in dealing with bad reviews. Contact us today for a free consultation to see what we can do for your business!