You’ve got a bad review on social media, now what It's going to happen

If you are in business long enough you are going to have an upset customer. It happens. This can happen for a variety of reasons, some of which are out of your control. With today’s online world many upset customers will take to social media to not only vent their frustration but to warn others by posting a negative review of your business on whichever social media outlet they can find you on. It can be stunning the first time it happens but don’t worry there are ways to effectively deal with it.

Bad reviews can come from nearly anything. Some customers are picky and every single thing has to be perfect. Some customers are just mean individuals and have nothing better to do with their time. You may have been having a bad day, it happens. You try not to mix your personal and professional life but sometimes that is unavoidable. You may have had a new employee that just hasn’t got everything down just yet. Like you, your employees are not perfect people and they will make mistakes.

The best thing that you can do is to respond to the post. Respond as the business owner and respond professionally. Do not ignore it. In many cases the angry customer just wants to know that they have been heard and how their issue can be fixed. There might have been a reason that something bad happened with their experiences. You might have been short-staffed or had a new employee. Don’t tell them that but instead take ownership of the problem. Apologize to the customer and make the customer feel important and valued. Resolve their issue, it may cost you a few dollars but by taking care of the issue others who read the complaint (and they will) will know that you are making an effort.

Another thing to do is to work out the details of any compensation privately by giving the customer your contact information so they can contact you when they are available. By working out the details privately this does several things for you. If you are providing a refund you will need proof that the customer did indeed do business with you and is not just some Internet troll posting negative reviews for the fun of it (or that they are blaming you for another company’s problem). Secondly if you keep the details between you and the customer you will not broadcast to the world what you will do to defuse a bad situation therefore inviting others to complain. You wouldn’t want to just hand out gift cards or refund someone’s money only to find they confused your business with another one after all. When someone is angry they may not take the time to confirm that the page that they are on is indeed the correct business.

Most social media outlets like Facebook or Yelp have processes in place that allow a business owner to report bad reviews and have them removed. Those one star reviews may seem harmless at first but can hurt in the long run. Do not wait to report them if they are spam. You are also able to report these reviews as well if they go against the community standards of the service. How do you know if the review is just spam? Typically it will just have one star and at best may have only a few vague words. A search of the reviewer’s history may also reveal numerous other one star reviews. For you worse comes to worse reviews can be disabled completely but use this option as a last resort. As a small business your business with only a handful of reviews you are not able to cope with a bad review as well as a Fortune 500 company.

Bad reviews will happen. It is a great tool that can help you improve your business. Just remember to not take it personally. If you are in business long enough it will happen. How you deal with it can define your business and can encourage or discourage others to do business with you. Handle it the right way, but let’s hope that this will not be something that you become well practiced with.

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