Every company gets a bad review from time to time. You can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try.
But try you must, and this is where it gets frustrating. The last thing you feel like doing is calmly listening to a dissatisfied, angry customer who you think is being unreasonable. What do you do?
The first thing you need to do is step back for a minute and get some perspective. A bad review can be damaging to your brand, but not nearly as much as a bad response from your company. Don’t escalate a dispute into an outright conflict, no matter how much you want to.
Even if you think the criticism is baseless, try to understand where it’s coming from. Maybe a product you sold was defective. Maybe a change you recently implemented made most customers happy, and you’re hearing from one of the very few who hated it. Or maybe the customer failed to read a product description and is suffering buyer’s remorse.
Whatever is causing their grief, approach the negative review as an opportunity to learn. Maybe, after seeing their opinion from a more objective viewpoint, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable after all.
Resolve the dispute
If it can be fixed, fix it, and do it visibly. Eventually, the negative review will be lost in positive reviews, and if people come across it, they’ll see that you were willing and eager to help the dissatisfied customer.
If the complaint is too vague to resolve immediately, ask the customer to contact your business so you can help them with their issue. This will send a message to other visitors that you invite criticism and are willing to work with people.
Sometimes, a customer really is just being unreasonable. In these cases, you can still respond in a kind, receptive manner and de-escalate tension. Let the customer know that you’re willing to hear more about their experience, and invite them to respond in a private email or phone call. Many of them won’t bother.
If you reward every bad review with a refund and a free gift card, you can expect a lot more in the future. But not everyone is trying to game the system or avoid the consequences of a bad decision, and it’s always best to err on the side of empathy.