So, you’ve received a bad review on Facebook and it’s just sitting there for all the world to see, like a wart on your brand's nose. It's just not fair - is it?
The thing is, good or bad, customer feedback is inevitable and essential. It lets you know what you’re doing right and where you’re going wrong. Successful brands are constantly looking for ways to improve, enrich the customer experience and ultimately, to stay successful.
Why customer retention is important
When it comes to customer retention vs acquisition, it’s in your brand’s best interest to look after the people that have already bought into your product or service. Here’s why:
Loyalty: Customers that have learned the value of your product or service can become repeat customers and often spend more than newer customers.
ROI: A small increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by anything up to 95%.
Referrals: Happy customers are more likely to refer their friends and family and bring in new customers, free of charge.
Affordability: It can be up to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.
This is why it’s important to have systems in place for receiving feedback and fostering relationships with your customers.
How to deal with negative (but genuine) reviews
For some customers, when things go wrong, Facebook is just one of the platforms where they can air their frustrations. The good news is, even though the customer is clearly ticked off, you haven’t lost them just yet, but how you act next is critical as it will affect how your customers will see and interact with your brand in future.
“It ain’t over till it’s over.” – Yogi Berra
The following interaction between a customer and car dealership is a great example of how to win a customer back.
How to respond to a bad review
1. Don’t freak out
2. Acknowledge the complaint
Customers need to be assured that they’ve been heard. Clearly and politely communicate that you recognise that expectations have not been met and that efforts will be made to rectify the issue. Ignoring the complaint will only indicate to customers a lack of care and will damage your brand’s image.
3. Choose your words carefully
Avoid language that makes your brand appear disinterested, insincere or too defensive. Doing so could escalate the problem and put both existing and prospective clients off your brand.
4. Say thank you
By bringing the complaint to your attention, rather than stewing on it quietly and bagging your brand to friends and family, the customer has given you an opportunity to respond (and hopefully fix the issue). That’s a positive! Thanking the customer for getting in touch and for their patience will help to take some of the focus off the problem and makes the customer feel good about themself.
5. Take it offline
While a public response will show other customers that your brand cares and has a support system in place, how you make it up to the customer and any further correspondence does not need to be public. Offer your company’s contact information to resolve the issue discreetly. This will make the customer feel heard and that the matter is being taken seriously and dealt with as a priority, and in turn make your brand appear more personable and human.
How to deal with fake reviews and trolls
There may be situations where your brand receives Facebook reviews that are fake or unfair, use inappropriate language or don’t actually have anything to do with your business. While you can’t delete or hide reviews on Facebook, if they don’t adhere to Facebook’s Community Standards, you can report them. To do this, go to the review, click on the menu arrow in the top right hand corner, click on ‘Report Post’ and follow the prompts. The ‘Report Post’ feature however, only applies to written reviews, so when it comes to low star ratings, unfortunately there’s not much you can do at this point in time.
If Facebook reviews are doing your brand more harm than good, consider disabling ratings and reviews on your page and instead offer company contact information for customer support and feedback. Customer feedback through this way is more likely to be genuine as it’s more private and it allows you to better control your brand’s image by publishing (with the customers consent) only the positive feedback and testimonials through Facebook instead.
The take away
No business gets it right 100% of the time. Mistakes can happen, whether it’s a bad product that slipped through quality control, a lack of follow-through on delivery or service, or a staff member having an ‘off’ day. When this happens, your brand has a responsibility to the customer to try and right any wrongs.
By responding to any negative review on Facebook (or elsewhere, like Google) and publicly making amends, this shows your customers, both existing and prospective, that your brand cares and has systems in place to keep your customers happy. It’s about demonstrating your approachability, building trust, and maintaining relationships. In doing so, you’re also helping to protect your brand’s image.
So treat your customers how you would expect to be treated.