Negative reviews aren’t the end of the world, but most business owners would like to avoid them altogether.
In a previous blog, we talked about how negative reviews impact your website’s SEO in a positive way. Negative reviews also add legitimacy to your business in the eyes of prospective clients, and they give you a chance to show off your customer service skills. But, no matter how many upsides there are to negative reviews, they are still negative and can, therefore, have an impact on your business. That’s probably why the vast majority of business owners would like to avoid them altogether. If you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 ways to avoid negative reviews for your business:
#1. Hire the right team.
As the owner or manager of a company, you have a lot of say in the direction of the company and in many other areas of operations. However, you probably don’t have a lot of contact with customers. Your staff, however, is constantly interacting with customers, and if the people on the front lines aren’t providing customers with the proper respect or doing their due diligence, it reflects poorly on your whole company. The first step toward eliminating or avoiding negative reviews is to ensure that you have the right team on your side.
#2. Stay up to date on training.
Maybe no other company can compete with your team’s friendliness or customer service, but it’ll be all for naught if your team doesn’t know what they are doing or aren’t properly trained to get the job done. There are so many companies in any given industry that no business can afford to let themselves fall behind the times. Ensure that you stay up to date on all new advancements in your industry and keep your staff up to date by providing ongoing training.
#3. Make customer service a priority.
In this day and age, businesses are often competing against other businesses that offer similar products and services for roughly equivalent prices. That means that, in order to stand out in this ultra-competitive business environment, your customer service has to be at the top of its game. Even if it means taking longer on a job, losing out on additional work or even losing money, taking the time to provide great customer service will lend itself to lifetime customers and referrals, which are both huge for your business’ growth and long-term success.
#4. Address issues as they come up.
Don’t wait until a customer is so upset about their experience that they take to Google or Yelp to tell the world about how awful you are to work with. Instead, take a proactive approach and address issues as they come up. As the business owner or manager, you may not know when an issue comes up, but it’s important to stay in contact with your customer-facing staff, as well as your supervisors and management. Any time a staff member believes a customer is unhappy or unsatisfied, make sure they know to tell you. You need to know about any issues that come up so that you can help to resolve them and make them right before they turn into full-blown problems.
#5. Learn from previous mistakes.
If you’re reading this article, chances are, you’ve dealt with negative reviews in the past and you’re looking to avoid them in the future. However, there’s a lot of value in the negative reviews you have; you just have to take the time to fully listen to what they say and learn from them. The possibility is strong that, if one customer experienced a problem, other customers will experience that same problem in the future if it’s not dealt with. Always read any negative reviews you have, take them to heart and figure out ways you can do better in the future.
#6. Be mindful of your customers’ perspective.
In a previous blog, we talked about the power of perception in reputation management. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Perception is reality,” before, and it’s never been more true than it is today for business owners. Whether or not their perception is accurate, it’s reality for your customers. So even if the job took three additional hours because something unexpected came up that needed to be fixed or because you took the time to go above and beyond your duty, if you don’t communicate properly with your customers, all they will know is that the job took longer than you told them it would, which brings us to our next point.
#7. Communicate with your customers!
A lot of businesses make the mistake of believing that their customers won’t understand why they do things a certain way or why things may take longer than originally thought. However, it’s up to you to explain the situation to them in a way they can understand it. Staying in constant communication with your customers is important for so many reasons. For one, they are paying you for a product or service, and therefore, they have a right to know what’s going on. Furthermore, you can avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication that can make you lose out on customers or business if you keep your clients in the loop about what’s going on.
#8. Collect feedback about your business regularly.
The worst negative reviews are the ones that come completely out of left field. For example, if you run a coffee shop, and three of your baristas were out sick during the Saturday morning rush, you can reasonably expect that some customers will be unhappy with the additional time it takes to get their coffee, even if you’ve explained the situation to them. But if you’re operating under the impression that your team is doing a great job and meeting your customers’ needs, a negative review can be shocking and disappointing. That’s why it’s always important to be in the know about what’s going on with your business by collecting feedback from your customers as often as you can. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Keep feedback cards handy for your customers.
- Talk to your client-facing staff about their interactions with customers.
- Ask your customers directly about their experience.
#9. Make it easy for customers to reach out to you.
A lot of times, customers will write a negative review because they feel like no one is there to hear their complaints or about their negative experience. That’s why it’s important for your customers to be able to air their grievances and be heard at any point in the transaction, not just at the end when all is said and done. Give your clients your email address or phone number so that they can alert you when something goes wrong. Or, add a form on your website so that customers can let you know about issues as they come up.
#10. Don’t let your pride get the better of you.
“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” – Sophocles
We all make mistakes and none of us are perfect human beings. Don’t be so confident in your services or products that you are unwilling to accept that you make mistakes or are sometimes inconsistent in your service. Instead, accept that mistakes happen, learn from them and then use what you’ve learned to truly become the best in the business.
Turn negative reviews into positives for your business with Top Rated Local.
There are lots of things you can do to avoid negative reviews, but at some point or another, you’re probably going to get one. Don’t let one negative review be the downfall of your business! Respond to negative reviews and take ownership of your online reputation by signing up for Top Rated Local today! It’s free to get started, so you have absolutely nothing to lose!