Every business owner will have to deal with negative reviews in the digital age. A locksmith business is no stranger to negative reviews by previous customers. A negative review can happen despite your hard work in satisfying your customers and providing exceptional service. However, it doesn’t matter how frustrating it is; responding to negative reviews is a must.
Why? It’s an integral part of reputation management.
Most customers would prefer to see negative reviews with a response from the business owner rather than negative reviews with no response. Responding to negative reviews shows you value your customers and appreciate their insights.
Online reviews are an excellent way for consumers to share their experiences with other customers and businesses.
In the next few minutes, we’ll share how negative reviews affect your business, sample response to negative comments, and best practices for handling negative reviews, especially when they could damage your brand reputation.
How to Respond to Negative Business Reviews
It can be challenging to respond to negative reviews. Negative reviews can hurt, and sometimes they can even be cruel.
It’s normal to be upset by negative locksmith reviews. However, it is crucial not to lose your cool or feel like you are retaliating. It’s a good idea to get away from the keyboard often, so your emotions don’t dictate the content of your reply to the review. To respond professionally, you must first get to a calm place, mentally and physically.
Although your response to negative reviews may vary depending on the situation, remember that it’s a chance to highlight and reinforce the positive aspects of your business that customers already love.
Let’s look at some of the best practices a locksmith customer service team can use when responding to negative business reviews.
Best Practice 1: Recognize and Apologize
Yes, an apology is appropriate, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong. The experience of the reviewer is theirs. It’s what they feel. While disagreeing with the facts, you can’t dispute their feelings.
It is possible to show some sympathy and help defuse the situation. You can still offer your apology to the reviewer for bad service without defending their criticisms of your attention. A simple “Sorry to hear about your experience” will suffice.
Best Practice 2: If Necessary, Provide an Explanation
Sometimes, an apology is not enough to address the situation. You may need to give more details to clarify a misunderstanding in these cases. Here are three things to keep in mind when explaining:
- Do not make excuses; take responsibility.
- Even if it was the other party’s mistake, apologize.
- Provide advice on how to reengage your business.
Best Practice 3: Add a Touch of Specificity
A public and anonymous review platform is not the place to mount a serious defense. Your Google Business Profile doesn’t function as a court. You won’t be granted justice simply for proving a reviewer wrong or effectively stating your case in Google reviews.
It’s a good idea to address the primary concern of the reviewer. This shows you are paying attention to the reviewer’s concerns and that you care enough to adapt your response to suit their particular situation.
Look at it as a great opportunity to compare the reviewer’s negative experience with your company’s policies or what customers typically experience when they hire a locksmith.
It’s a way to address the reviewer’s concerns while promoting your expertise. A sample response to negative comments can go, “We are known for our outstanding customer service, and we regret not living up to that standard this time.”
Best Practice 4: Incentivize or Compensate the Reviewer Fairly
Nothing is worse than having a bad experience with a company, only to have them ignore the customer’s experience as if it wasn’t a big deal. Customers see the problem as a cost to their time and money.
Be willing to compensate or incentivize the customer to call for your locksmith services again. A simple apology is enough to get them to call you, but a 20% discount on the next service is even better. It could make the difference between a customer for life and a one-time customer.
You can give them a discount on their next service or give them priority scheduling. Inform your customer that you’ll reschedule with the team as soon as possible to fix the problem.
Best Practice 5: Take the Situation Offline
Your online response will rarely be enough to resolve the reviewer’s negative experience. Trying too hard to solve everything with one email response can sometimes cause more harm than good.
Instead, try to have the conversation offline. If possible, provide contact information, including a company representative’s name and phone number. This shows your willingness to listen, giving the experience a more approachable, personable touch. This shows that you take customer service seriously enough for someone to address those issues.
Best Practice 6: Keep It Short and Sweet
Responding to negative reviews is easier when there are three to four sentences. No matter how unfair a review is, it would help if you resisted the temptation to argue every point. Although it may seem counterintuitive, long-winded responses can legitimize the complaint.
Don’t get into details (it can be defensive) or ask for follow-up questions. Avoid saying anything that might cause an upset customer to become more defensive, and encourage them to add negative comments and detail to their review.
Your response is important for the person who wrote the review, but it’s even more significant for other customers who will continue to read it for many weeks or months. Keeping it short and simple will make you less likely to let your emotions take over when you respond to negative reviews.
Although review management is not easy, it can be a worthwhile skill that will help you grow your locksmith business and attract new customers. Many review sites allow you to post negative reviews online. It is more challenging to manage unhappy customers via social media.
Working with a Cleveland SEO company like ADMS can make it easier to improve your experience with managing business reviews. Our reputation management services provide solutions that will help you receive better reviews, address customer feedback, and improve customer experience in no time.
Contact us to learn more about how we can work on making negative reviews positive for your business.