In this digital age, companies know that online reviews are more powerful than ever, so they work hard to deliver exceptional customer experience every single time. But the reality is, no business is perfect, and missteps are bound to happen along the way resulting in negative feedback. This is where effective reputation management is critical: how you respond to your reviews can make a difference in turning an unforeseen drawback into a calculated advantage.
Studies show that 96% of customers take the time to read the replies made on reviews. In fact, 40% of them have said that they always do this when considering doing business with a brand. This shows that responding to online reviews — especially complaints — can significantly impact your customer satisfaction and brand reputation.
How to Respond to Negative Feedback
Businesses that acknowledge and respond to online reviews are most likely to experience an increase in ratings compared to those who don’t. With that in mind, here are seven tips on how to make the most out of any situation and better handle negative reviews.
1. Assess the issue and ask questions when details aren’t clear.
The most effective best practices start with proper assessment: getting a full understanding of what happened, investigating internally, and presenting the best applicable resolution. Negative feedback can hurt, so it’s important that you have a clear head when crafting your reply. Establishing a logical procedure will help you construct your thoughts rationally and keep your emotions in check when publishing your response.
In cases where the details are unclear, asking questions to achieve clarity is the way to go. This technique will allow you to start a healthy dialogue with your client and help you evaluate their concern better. Once you’re able to identify the root of the problem, you can offer an appropriate solution.
2. Make it personal and address them by their name.
Addressing your clients’ and candidates’ reviews by name gives it a personal touch. This little detail makes a big difference in how people perceive your brand reputation. Studies show that 70% of people feel off when businesses use an automatic scripted response in answering online reviews. By addressing them directly, you demonstrate that you are willing to hear out what they have to say and are ready to resolve the issue. At the end of the day, your clients and candidates want to see that your company cares. So, veer away from templates and always make it personal.
3. Apologize sincerely and empathize with them.
One of the best ways you can highlight a humanized employer brand is by empathizing with your clients and candidates. Your perception of whether who is right or wrong should not hinder you from showing that you understand their frustration. In fact, apologizing for an unpleasant customer experience builds valuable trust and rapport between you and your customer because it shows that you’re prioritizing them. A little empathy can go a long way in demonstrating to people your values as a brand and how you take care of your clients and candidates. Most of all, it can make a difference in restoring client relationships and providing them with a better experience.
4. Be transparent about mistakes and take responsibility.
Applying transparency to how you approach negative feedback is one of the best ways to manage your reputation better. In fact, despite negative experiences, 85% of Americans will consider sticking with a brand if they have previously demonstrated transparency. What this shows is your clients and candidates don’t expect perfection from you; what they want to see is your sense of responsibility.
When you choose not to make excuses and acknowledge the customer’s experience, this reassures them that you hold yourself accountable to provide top-notch standards continuously. This then turns their negative perception of your brand into a progressive one, ultimately strengthening your brand reputation and forging brand loyalty.
5. Make it a point to make things right with a thoughtful reply.
When it comes to negative feedback, the last thing you want to do is further fuel the heat coming from an angry client with a vague or defensive answer. A well-crafted, thoughtful response can turn things around in your favor by helping you make things right with your clients and candidates and by winning over readers who find it. The key is thoughtfully addressing the issues raised in the feedback by including details about their concerns and then explicitly communicating the steps you’ve taken to change or improve those issues. When you do this, it shows that you pay attention and you fully understand the matter at hand.
In situations where it’s too late to fix the problem, a clearly crafted explanation can help increase the chances of an accepted apology. Acknowledging what went wrong and telling them your side of the story will allow you to appeal to their empathy. At the end of the day, the goal is to let them know that you are mindful of their concerns and are ready to make their next experience better.
6. Resolve the issue offline.
More often than not, you would need more than just one compelling reply to resolve a bad experience. So, aim to move the conversation offline by including a company representative’s name and contact information. By doing so, you turn the experience into a one-on-one encounter that’s more personal and positive. It also demonstrates that you are open to receive feedback and committed to delivering excellent customer service. This technique both protects and strengthens your brand reputation as it takes the conversation away from outside eyes and more effectively redeems the customer’s experience.
7. Ask for a second chance and offer an incentive, if necessary.
As tempting as it might be, don’t close the door on negative reviewers. Instead, ask for a second chance. Remember that the goal is to create a more positive impression from their already negative feedback. Turn their rant into a rave by inviting them to see you again and then greeting them with a warm welcome. If their issue was more critical than most, consider offering an incentive to encourage them to connect with you again. As you do this, you create an opportunity to change the narrative by letting them see your ability to deliver a quality experience that was missed the first time around.
Handle negative feedback better with Great Recruiters
Great Recruiters is a reputation management platform that provides you with an automated solution to manage your reviews better, collect insights about your recruitment process, and highlight the best testimonials. Whether it’s to share your glowing reviews or how to easily resolve negative feedback, this experience and reputation management software can help you better protect your brand reputation. To find out how you can enhance your online presence and recruitment strategy using Great Recruiters, book a demo today.