3 Smart Ways To Respond To A Negative Review

So, you got a negative review…

No matter how good your product, no matter how good your service, no matter how good your customer service, the only way to avoid the eventual negative review is to not have a business at all.

A customer can become dissatisfied enough to leave a review for several reasons:

  • The customer truly receives bad service. If they were ignored, if an employee was rude, if they purchased a defective or incorrectly-described product—these are all legitimate reasons to be unhappy with a business. This is why it’s important to ensure your employees are properly trained in dealing with both regular day-to-day customer interactions and in handling a dissatisfied customer.

  • Second, and arguably more serious, the customer doesn’t feel their problem was handled efficiently enough or with enough care by the business. In many circumstances, a negative review could be prevented with, say it with me, good customer service. While the situation that’s made the customer unhappy still exists, an employee with good customer service skills is often able to calm the customer and resolve the situation in a satisfactory manner.

    ** It’s also worth noting that many negative reviews are made by customers whose complaint never reaches the ears of an employee, making it ever more important that all employees are well-trained in order to prevent as many unhappy customers as possible.

  • The customer is having a bad day. Note that this doesn’t mean their complaint is unwarranted—it just means to take anything said with a grain of salt, because you never know what the customer’s day, week, year, or life has been like.

That’s all well and good, but I’ve gotten a negative review and I need to do something about it

Okay, I hear you. First, take a deep breath. It’s always concerning to receive a negative review, particularly if you’re in the early years of business, when every review feels like a personal attack. But, remember—it’s not a personal attack. It’s a single customer who had an experience they didn’t enjoy or expect, and they don’t feel satisfied with how your office handled it. It’s an opportunity for growth—and the more you are able to treat it that way, the fewer negative reviews you’ll receive.

So, what to do? Simple enough—just follow these steps:

  1. Acknowledge the problem: Don’t just let the review sit there. Sometimes, let’s face it, the food really was overcooked. Sometimes, an employee really did order the wrong part, resulting in more hassle for the customer. Sometimes, an employee was rude, performed the wrong service, was late, or any number of complaints that a negative review may indicate. It happens. The most important part of an apology (which comes next) is acknowledging what was done wrong and committing to fixing it.

  2. Apologize: And I don’t mean “We’re sorry you’re frustrated,” but “We’re very sorry we messed up. We are committed to resolving this situation.” A real apology is rare these days, and often that’s all a customer really needs—to hear that their problem is a real concern for you and that you are willing to make the effort to fix it.

  3. Fix it: This doesn’t always mean offering a free dessert, half off an oil change, or whatever else—it means evaluating what caused the problem in the first place and doing everything you can to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again.

Bonus Tips

  1. Recognize that your audience for a response to a negative review isn’t just the unhappy customer—it’s every customer you might potentially serve in the future. By responding honestly, sincerely, and with an obvious intent to repair the customer relationship, your future customers can see that you’re a business worth dealing with—and that, if they’re ever unhappy, you’re committed to keeping their business.

  1. Contrary to popular belief, remember the customer isn’t always right: While it’s important to keep calm, especially when responding to negative reviews, it’s also okay to point out when a negative review doesn’t accurately represent the circumstances. However, keep calm and don’t get personal—you’re not responding to the review to attack the customer; you’re responding to share your concern for maintaining the customer relationship.

Want to read more about responding to negative reviews? Review Tracker has another great article on the topic.

And, as always, if you need help, give CloudZen Designs a call.

 

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Should I create a Facebook page or a build a new website? (Hint: The answer is both.)

This entire post is about why you should have a website and a Facebook page. The simple answer is this: to make Google like you more. When Google likes you, good things happen.

Over the last year or two, I’ve noticed a trend. Because Facebook has become ubiquitous—that is, most of your customers are using it—some businesses, particularly new businesses or businesses only recently embracing their online presence, have decided they only need a Facebook page.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

But Facebook Is A Great Tool

A Facebook page is great, and I would argue, all but necessary. It allows customers to develop relationships with businesses in a space they’re already comfortable with. From the businesses’ perspective, Facebook is a great way for existing customers to recommend services to their friends, making it awesome for increasing referrals.

And, let’s face it, people are less and less likely to pick up the phone. Facebook allows customers to connect with businesses without having to make a call. Instead, they can turn to the messaging feature they’re already using. And, it’s a great way for businesses such as restaurants to advertise daily specials. It’s also regularly used for everything from communicating inclement weather closures to reminding customers about upcoming events.

If Facebook is so great, why can’t you use it exclusively?

Glad you asked:

Facebook is only intended for sharing basic information about the business.

When visitors go to the “About” section of your businesses’ Facebook page, they are taken to a page detailing when the business was founded, its hours, location, and phone number, and hopefully some basic information about the mission or goal of the business…but that’s about it.

If your customers want to know basically anything beyond what Facebook allows for with their limited space and one-size-fits-all layout…you’re going to need a website.

A well-developed website is more customizable.

Because of that customization, clients and customers can more easily navigate information, and businesses are able to share information in a more organized way.

As noted above, Facebook, understandably, is one-size-fits-all. A Facebook page is meant to be simple, straightforward, one and done. A website, on the other hand, can be customized to suit your wildest dreams. Want your landing page to have a singing animated video? Done.

More realistically, do you want to provide online shopping and automated inventory tracking with shipping notifications to customers? We can help with that.

Do you want to passionately explain why and how you do what you do? CloudZen Designs can definitely help with that.

A website is necessary for search engine optimization (SEO).

This is possibly the most important point of the three. Without getting into the long explanation, search engine optimization means optimizing your web presence so your business shows up higher in search rankings.

This is important.

When customers go to their favorite search engine and look for, let’s say, yarn shops, a list of yarn shops in their area populates at the top of the search engine’s results. Usually, the list of top hits is a result of strong search engine optimization combined with being listed as a business on Google. A significant number of reviews doesn’t hurt either, but that’s a topic for another time.

If your search engine optimization is lacking, you may not show up on that list—or you may be at the bottom.

Perhaps you carry an item or brand that the person would really like to know more about. Maybe you’re the closest option. But none of that matters if you don’t have a website with good SEO that’s caused your business to be highly listed. And if you don’t have a website, guess what? The person looking for your services is going to go right on down the list. I bet fewer than one out of ten people will call a business to find out information that should be on a nonexistent website.

Facebook + Website = Where it’s at

If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: what’s awesome about having both a website and a Facebook page is that Google can tell they are connected. When a business has both and makes it a point to be active on each one, Google likes it. When Google likes what you’re doing, they rank you higher. The higher you are in search results, the more customers can find you. It’s as simple as that.

Developing a new website might sound difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. CloudZen Designs can help streamline the process and get you into a site that suits your needs.

And hey, if you need social media maintenance help, we’re happy to chat about that, too.

The Importance of Well-Written Content

A new or redesigned website doesn’t just need to be attractive, usable, practical, and responsive—it needs to provide clear, straightforward information about the businesses’ services, information about the business itself, and convey a sense of authority so users feel they can rely on the business for information about their product or industry.

The Basic Copy

A website does this in a couple of ways. First, consider the basic copy. Content that is sloppily written, with excess or imprecise language, misspellings, or grammatical errors, is the first red flag readers notice—and it’s one of the easiest to avoid. After all, you want your reader to continue browsing your site for as long as possible. Unfortunately, many consumers will leave the site after finding a second or third error, because they’ve begun to be concerned that if your business can’t manage correct spelling and grammar, incorrect information about your product or service may also be present.

The Message

The second part of well-written content is the message itself. Grammar and mechanics are easy to fix if errors are present, but the content is where your expert knowledge, perhaps with the help of a professional writer, comes in to play.

For example, when visiting a new site, a user may first go to the “About Us” section. The information contained in the “About Us” section shouldn’t just function as a biography of the owners or a history of the company. Instead, purposefully chosen information can immediately instill in the reader a sense of trust. Instead of providing the minimum number of details, developing a narrative about the company, its founders, its mission, and the ways in which it is moving toward the future can go a long way toward helping your customers identify with who you are and what you do. Why waste the opportunity?

Dynamic Content

Much of the content above is semi-static, that is, it won’t change very often. But there is a third area of content—dynamic content. This type of content is usually on a blog, which will be updated every month, every week, or maybe even every day. Blog posts are no longer journal-type entries, though those may be used occasionally. Instead, blog posts have become more like proper articles. They are generally longer (from 500-1000 words) and are often written from an expert’s perspective.

 

When you take combine the need for regular blogging to increase SEO and share information with the need for accurate, well-developed copy on the rest of the site, you’re looking at a lot of words. All that content has to come from somewhere. Your web designer will, ideally, work with a professional writer to create a usable design and fill it in with content that’s solid. Though content marketing is much more complex than just a good website, that’s the first place a consumer will often be exposed to your web marketing.

Examples:

 

1. Well-written content provides real value to your customers:

A new visitor/consumer comes to your website. They peruse the “About Us” page, look at the products or services you offer, and find everything well-written and proofread. Your blog functions not as an attempt to sell them something, but as a real effort to provide information that will help them.

2. That well-written content builds brand authority:

When your brand name comes up in conversation or when the consumer sees your brand in other marketing campaigns, they acknowledge your brand as an authority in the industry, one that’s genuinely trying to provide as much assistance as possible.

3. That authority builds brand trust:

When a question comes up regarding a related service or product, the consumer trusts that the information provided by the authority (your business) is accurate. When it’s time to make a purchase decision, the consumer remembers your company as a reputable one whom they would trust to provide not only strong information, but a solid product or service.

 

For just a moment, imagine this went another direction—a new consumer visits your site, finds spelling or grammatical errors, or finds a blog that hasn’t been updated in a year, even though you’re supposed to be an expert in your field. Worse, maybe your website doesn’t have any information about who you are and doesn’t take any steps to help the consumer feel comfortable with what you provide. What do you think the chances are they’ll stick around long enough to do business with you?

If you have any questions about content or content marketing, web design, or how a web designer can help you navigate these important issues, contact CloudZen Designs. We can schedule an analysis of your site, whether you need a new website, a website redesign, or content help.