Like it or not, online reviews are now a big part of doing business. A recent survey suggested 60% of customers read reviews regularly, and of this 60%, 93% say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
“Any business owner knows that your most authentic and impactful advocate is a happy customer, and technology has made every customer’s voice extremely powerful,” says Eric Rea, CEO of Podium, the company that conducted the survey. “Our data shows just how much consumers trust each other, and therefore how much these advocates can drive purchase decisions and grow brand recognition through online reviews.”
Any business owner knows that your most authentic and impactful advocate is a happy customer, and technology has made every customer’s voice extremely powerful
What’s more, Google is having an increasingly strong influence on reviews and ratings. The search engine now displays reviews and ratings from trusted third-party sites within a businesses’ Local Knowledge Panel. These appear under the title ‘Reviews from the web’, below details submitted to the Google Business Page.
How a workshop handles a bad review can be potentially more damaging then the review itself. If a bad review is ignored by a garage, or responded to in an inappropriate or unprofessional way, alarm bells may ring for prospective customers. Every business will get a bad review once in a while – it’s how you deal with it that matters. Potential customers know this and will look to see how the workshop responds to a bad review. It gives consumers a real-life example of how complaints are handled by your workshop.
The first thing to do when you get a bad review.
First of all, don’t get mad and don’t beat yourself up about the review. At some time, every business, however hard they try, is going to find that someone has left them a bad review.
The second thing to do when you get a bad review.
Do not respond instantly. Think it over so you don't say anything you might regret, you do not want to inflame the situation. Sleep on it if needs be.
The third thing to do when you get a bad review.
When you’re feeling calm and objective, now is the time to respond. Start by thanking the reviewer for their comments – the fact that they have given you feedback, albeit negative, means that you can do something about it. Respond politely – your tone will reflect on your brand and your business.
If you think the complaint is justified, briefly explain the steps your workshop is taking to address the issue.
If you don't think it’s justified, briefly explain your policy to show that you believe you fulfilled the terms of the agreement in good faith. If you are willing and able, you could offer the customer a further product or service, not as an apology but as a good will offering.
Resist the temptation to get defensive. Consider the criticism and explain how you made the situation right. If you have offered the dissatisfied customer a further product or service as a good will offering and they have still left negative feedback, make sure you mention this in your response – a prospective customer reading this review will see your workshop in a positive light.
It’s easy to write off negative feedback as the unwelcome result of a one-off bad experience or the unreasonable demands of a needy customer, but even if you feel the comment is unjust, how you handle these interactions is crucial as that is what prospective customers will measure you on.