The holiday season is here, it is a time of joy, celebration, and increased sales for businesses. The last thing anyone wants to deal with during this time of happiness is something destructive; however, with the surge in customers comes the potential for negative reviews and feedback. As a business, receiving negative reviews can feel like a lump of coal in your stocking, but fear not, a couple of bad reviews doesn’t automatically put you on the naughty list, and in fact can be a good thing, depending on how you handle them. We are going to review some ways that you can turn negative reviews into opportunities this holiday season to help your business grow and succeed in the New Year.
How to Turn Negative Reviews into Opportunities
Gathering reviews is important for your business, so, when you see a new one, it can be as exciting as being a kid and seeing presents under the tree Christmas morning; however, when you read that feedback and realize that it is not really positive, it can be like opening a hand sewn sweater. It can literally suck the excitement right out of the moment. Although bad reviews can often create a threat to your brand and reputation, they can also create a valuable learning and marketing opportunity, and actually be a good thing from time to time.
Below we unwrap the ways you can turn negative reviews into opportunities this holiday season and beyond.
- Respond Quickly and Professionally: When you receive a negative review, don’t ignore it or become defensive. How you handle the business response, can make all the difference. Respond to all reviews promptly and professionally, acknowledging the customer’s concerns. Show empathy and let them know that their experience matters to you. This proactive approach demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction.
- Embrace Feedback: Negative reviews may not be your favorite thing, but they are valuable feedback from your customers and you should thank them for it. Negative reviews can provide insight into areas within your business that need fixing (without the review, you may not know a problem even exists). Consider the feedback as an opportunity to learn and improve. As mentioned above, the key to negative reviews is handling them quickly and publicly, to show that customer satisfaction is your number one priority.
- Apologize and Take Ownership: We have all heard the saying, “The customer is always right”; to turn a negative review into a positive experience, embody that. Even if you believe the negative review is unjustified or untrue, offering a sincere apology is essential. Taking responsibility doesn’t necessarily mean accepting blame for everything that went wrong, but it shows that you care about your customers’ feelings and experiences.
- Look into the Issue: Whether you believe the feedback is true or not, there probably is some truth behind it, and you should use it as an opportunity to gain further insight to your business’s daily workings. Dig deeper into the issue. Investigate what happened and why the customer had a negative experience. Talk to your team members, gather relevant information, and analyze the situation objectively. Understanding the root cause will help you address the problem effectively. Use this experience and feedback to make needed improvements to your products, services, and overall business.
- Offer a Solution/Resolution: Keep your responses public, so other people can see how you are resolving the situation. It can help them gain trust for your business. Don’t just make improvements in the future, offer a resolution to the dissatisfied customer in the current situation as well. A genuine effort to make things right can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal advocate. It can do the same for those following along as well.
Receiving a bad review is not a “bad” thing and doesn’t immediately mean you will be removed from Santa’s Nice List this year, how you handle the scenario and what you take from the feedback can actually create positives. When it comes to turning negative reviews into opportunities this holiday season and beyond, there are many ways to do so. While we have only reviewed a few ways above, there are other things you can do as well. Be as creative as you would like, learn from your competitors, train your team for how to handle less than stellar feedback, monitor and measure change, and encourage positive reviews as well.
At Water Bear Marketing we can help you manage your online reputation and gain new customers in various ways. Contact us today to schedule a free advertising consultation and get started on moving your business from the Naught List to the Nice List.