Seeing a bad review on one’s business is disappointing and can create some angst. However, bad reviews are actually useful and even necessary.
Useful from the standpoint of being a tool to help improve the business and address a shortcoming, even if it is a perceived shortcoming and is not really the reality of a given situation. It provides an opportunity to speak to the staff member (or members) involved and to see if there is a policy or procedure to improve a given area of the business. It offers an opportunity to talk about what went wrong and how to avoid the same thing from happening in the future.
I mentioned a “perceived” shortcoming, that can happen too. Most often it results from the customer not understanding something correctly. In our business, that is also a failure since proper communication is an important part of our obligation to our clients. Thankfully it is a rare occurrence but it does happen. Sometimes it happens just because the individual is stuck on a particular issue and does not want to hear anything contrary to their opinion.
It is also very useful for the owner or manager to reach out to the reviewer in an effort to better understand what went wrong so that the issue can be better addressed within the company. In addition, it offers an opportunity for the owner or manager to perhaps repair the relationship by listening and asking what can be done to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one. You would be surprised at how little it takes in some cases. Once in a while, it only takes the business reaching out so that the customer knows they were heard.
Too often we would have no clue a particular client was unhappy because most people don’t think they will get satisfaction from the owner or manager and simply write a bad review. Certainly, for our company, and I suspect most, the owner or manager does care and wants to reach out to the individual for the reasons just given.
I also mentioned that bad reviews are necessary which might seem a bit odd. They are necessary because a business with all 5-star reviews is going to look suspect. It will look as if they loaded their page up with their friends and maybe even fake reviews. Also, how the company responds to a bad review is vitally important. It is an opportunity to show prospective customers how they will be treated if they do business with the company. A defensive or obnoxious reply does nothing to make the person reading the review feel good about the company. A reply from the business apologizing and offering to contact the reviewer will go a long way toward making the reader feel good about the company.
As you can see, a bad review is nothing to be afraid of and is actually an opportunity for the company if handled correctly.
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