As salon or spa owner, the foundation of your business is built on satisfied clients. But what happens when one unhappy client takes to the internet to complain? Negative reviews can be very disheartening. Facing adversity online is a delicate matter that needs to be proactively handled with compassion and grace. When handled appropriately, negativity is not an end-all, but it’s up to you to understand how you can use reviews to benefit your business.
Reviews in the Digital Age
In the digital age, potential customers are more likely to form an opinion about your business because of a review from a stranger. More than ever before, clients have access to all different types of review and social media platforms in the palm of their hands — 24/7. The evolution of sharing our experiences online has increased the importance of engaging with clients outside of your business walls.
Reviews have the ability to humanize your brand. People want to deal with people; it’s human nature. Engaging in reviews about your business shows current and prospective clients that they are interacting with a person, not a brand. Actively engaging in reviews also shows that you are vested in the quality of experience that is received by your clients.
Why Do Bad Reviews Happen?
Bad reviews can happen for several reasons, but always occur because a client is unhappy. As a business owner, it is important to understand that a bad review is not the root of your problem, it is the result. The real problem occurred between your customer and your business, and because of this, the customer used the internet as a platform to express their concerns, where they know they will be heard, receive sympathy and validation.
Take Advantage of Negative Reviews
Reviews aren’t going anywhere, which means it’s up to you to determine how you will make them work for your business. Don’t be discouraged by a bad review and don’t take it personally; instead, make it work for you.
Here are a few things to consider when tackling negative reviews:
Familiarize yourself with the platforms. Understanding the culture and functionality on the most commonly used review platforms will help you respond appropriately. Sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Angie’s List are a good place to start.
Develop a response strategy. Many times, a business owner’s first reaction to a negative review is to try and have it removed. Depending on the content of the review, negative reviews should not be taken down, but rather responded to. Developing a response strategy will allow you to promptly and confidently approach the situation.
Become part of the conversation. Engaging with clients in a polite and respectful manner is a must. Becoming part of the conversation will allow you to start a necessary dialogue to not only help to clear things up with the dissatisfied client, but also show other clients that you are listening and willing to take constructive criticism. If the solution to the client’s problem has the potential to make him or her more upset, consider contacting the client offline.
Stay humble. If you are in the wrong, stay humble and apologize. If you have a review that misrepresents your business, it is okay to correct the reviewer, but do so in a tasteful manner!
Develop an action plan. The way you handle a negative review has the ability to bring in new clients and strengthen the relationship you have with current clients. Focus on how you can correct the situation that caused the negative review, and mend the relationship with the dissatisfied client.
Customer reviews, whether positive or negative, are an important factor in the growth of your business. Using these reviews as an opportunity can help to improve your services and your responses to conflict as a manager. To learn more about the importance of customer reviews, download our free guide.