Kit Reaux, GoodFriend Pro
Just as positive word-of-mouth marketing can be a tremendous resource for a small business in the pet industry, a bad review can be equally, if not more, detrimental to your business. Pet parents rely on each other to find the best services for their pets through personal recommendations and online reviews. Here are a few tips on how to effectively handle a negative review producing the best possible results for both your clients and your business.
Though it can be tempting to delete negative comments or ignore negative reviews, it’s important to respond to unhappy clients promptly. An unanswered negative review can fester and spread online faster than you’d think and it speaks volumes about a business. Your lack of response will not go unnoticed by potential clients. No matter how bad the review is, a professional response will always put a point in your favor.
Acknowledge the issue
Everyone wants to feel heard. Provide an empathetic response that lets the client know that you understand why they are upset and want to reach a solution. Note: If the situation calls for a brief recap of events, use We or I statements instead of you statements which have an accusatory tone. Example: “We understand there was a miscommunication.” vs “This is not what you told the groomer.”
Thank them for reaching out
Whether it's good news or not so good news, having your clients communicate their experience is essential to providing the best possible service and building your business. Make sure to express your appreciation for their insights in your response. They may even thank you for it!
Move the conversation from public to private
The sooner you take the conversation from public to private, the better. Otherwise, the back and forth involved in finding a resolution will be available to all, potentially worsening the situation. Provide a vague, but genuine response to their review with a request to reach out directly to better understand the situation and work on a resolution.
Work to make things right
After you get a full understanding of the situation, work with the client on a resolution. It may be a refund, discount or free future service. It is up to you to determine what is reasonable. Keep in mind that there is a chance that even after doing everything possible to remedy the situation, the review may stay up.
Prevention is key
Though a bad review may seem to come out of nowhere, it's often the result of several missed opportunities to fix an issue before the client leaves unhappy. Review your customer service operations. Many companies have found success implementing their own automated in-house review system allowing clients to report issues directly instead of on a public forum. For a more grassroots approach, have your employees ask clients about their experience at check out. This is also a great time to encourage good reviews!
Though you hope it will never happen, every business owner finds themselves faced with a not-so-good review. If you’ve done all you can and the client is not satisfied, it’s best to not dwell on it and focus on generating good reviews instead. Stay positive!