No one, from companies to individuals, likes their flaws pointed out. No one likes to be viewed in an unfair light, either. But any online presence opens the door for such criticism, some warranted and some not. So, what happens when your business is on the end of a less than flattering review or comment? How can you handle the situation with tact?
It’s easy: remember to stop, drop (your defenses), and roll (with the punches). And take the following into consideration:
Don’t ignore a complaint
Ignoring something doesn’t necessarily make it go away, especially when it’s posted online for the world to see. Ignoring something can also be misconstrued as a concession on your part. Instead of not saying anything at all, aim to address even the worst reviews. Strive to understand where your customer is coming from and offer to go the extra mile to remedy the situation. You want to cultivate a reputation as a business that cares. Why? Because that’s a business people want to solicit.
Be aware of the fine line
However, there is a fine line between “going the extra mile” and “getting taken advantage of.” If a customer is making a mountain out of a molehill, they may have an ulterior motive (especially if this is a common occurrence on their part). This doesn’t mean you need to dismiss their complaint entirely, but it is something to be aware of.
Own up to your mistakes
Companies are run by people, and people make mistakes: everyone is wrong at some point. If you make one, own it. Your customers will be much more receptive to you if you admit your wrong doings than they would be if you come at them with excuses and defensiveness.
Make sure the issue is clear
As mentioned above, it’s important to understand a situation clearly; only then can you fix it. But clarity isn’t always a given. So, before you act, make sure you understand the client’s perspective. If they state that they’re unhappy with your service, for instance, inquire as to why.
Offer a discount
When warranted, a discount (or some type of incentive) can go a long way in getting back in a client’s good graces. Not everyone is amenable to this, but try nonetheless. At the very least, others will notice your efforts. And that’s a win for your reputation.
Dealing with unhappy customers is never fun, but it comes with the territory. These tips don’t guarantee a solution, but they do diffuse the conflict. Most importantly, attempt to make your client feel heard. After all, that’s what most of us ultimately want.