For most retailers, especially small retailers, receiving a bad review is one of the most dreaded aspects of running a business. They know that in these fast-paced, online times we live in, just about everyone will be exposed to the wrath of a disgruntled customer.
In last week’s blog post we talked about how retailers can encourage their own customers to post customer-generated content on social media, which most of the time results in positive, low or no cost advertising for the business. Occasionally there may be a fly in the ointment, so to speak, and encouraging customers to post on your social media accounts will result in a bad review. So you got a bad review – now what?
Respond Quickly and Consistently – One thing all business owners should be doing on a daily basis is monitoring their social media accounts. Always take a quick look first thing in the morning for comments and or questions that may have been posted since you last looked. Answering questions and taking a minute to say thank you for a nice comment on your social media accounts can go a long way toward keeping the occasional bad review at bay. Customers of a business want to know that the places they shop are listening and are in tune with them. After all, there are many other places to shop. Make sure your customers feel cared-for and important enough to be responded to quickly and politely. When you discover an angry comment or bad review, always take care of it as soon as possible. Ask what you can do, offer a refund, and you may even want to offer a discount or coupon for future purchases. This will help get the customer back in your store so you can change his mind, not just soothe his anger.
Make it Personal – For small business owners, it is especially important to respond not only quickly but also personally to any negative comments or reviews of your business. As the business owner, your personal response will go a long way to soothing an angry or upset customer. Before contacting a customer who left a negative review or who has a complaint about your business, formulate your response in writing, so you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you will be addressing the problem. If possible, call the customer directly and speak to them; if you have an email address, you should also send a short note to thank them for letting you know there was a problem, and that you will be taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you are not able to do that, respond on whichever social media platform they have left feedback.
Learn from the Experience – Any time you receive feedback from a customer, you should use that information to improve your business. The good news about bad reviews is that there is usually something you can do to make it right. Remember, one of your most important tasks is to bridge the gap between customer expectations and the actual service your customer receives. Always offer refunds for products that fail to live up to customer’s expectations, and if poor customer service is the reason for the bad review, use the review to make sure the same situation never happens again. As for the customer service your customers receive, training for your employees is a must. This is something a retailer should not skimp on – an employee who is not well trained in the fine art of customer service may end up being a liability to your business.
If you are serious about making your business one that will keep satisfied customers coming back again and again, make an investment in customer service training. Consider it a cost of doing business, and make it a priority to properly train each and every person who will represent your business while dealing with the public. You will find that the investment you make now will pay off in the long run, and those nightmare bad reviews will soon be few and far between!