How Not To Respond To Negative Customer Reviews

What’s in a social media post? Quite a lot, and while most companies use social media as a way to connect with their customer base, there is always the danger that the company will misjudge the messaging, not handle complaints correctly, or make a disastrous mistake.

And when your company does commit a social media blunder, there is nowhere to hide once it has been spotted. So, when you do receive negative feedback, you should never disagree to strongly, and you definitely should not call your customers ‘cheap trash’, ‘peasants’ or ‘ugly’.

Restaurant describes customer as ‘chav cheap trash’ after negative review

Melissa Grogan-Morgan, Customer Service Manager and bride-to-be, joined 17 friends and family members for her hen party meal at 47 King Street West in Manchester but posted negative feedback on its Facebook page after being disappointed with the attitude of staff.

The restaurant replied to her post with an abhorrent outburst calling her group – which spent £600 at the venue – ‘vile people’ and ‘bottom of the barrel’.

It said: “The chaviest worst most vile people ever to grace our restaurant. Wouldn’t know fine dining if it slapped them in their ugly faces! Best thing ever is that they won’t return! Bottom of the barrel.”

Melissa told the M.E.N: “I’m just in complete disbelief at how rude and arrogant they have been – it’s left a bit of a shadow over the whole occasion. It’s absolutely shocking customer service – if I have treated a customer like that at work I’d have been sacked. I can’t imagine talking to anyone like that, never mind a paying customer.”

47 King Street West describes itself as a ‘modern upmarket French and British Restaurant’ and opened in 2011. The ‘fine dining’ restaurant deleted both their Facebook and Twitter pages after the scathing public response went viral.

How to respond to negative customer reviews:

So, how can you ensure your business doesn’t get caught up in a bad publicity storm through your social media response?

Acquiring a negative review on social media, about the business you’ve put your heart into can be painful, but as Mike Hymanson, owner of 47 King Street West, found when he insulted and humiliated hen party guests on Facebook in response to a bad review, it’s not a good idea to take it personally and bite back.

Always think carefully before responding

When receiving a negative response, always think things through. It is a good idea to take time to think carefully about how you’re going to respond to a negative comment or review. However, you shouldn’t leave it too long as ignorance can be just as harmful.

Social media isn’t about dealing with technology, it’s about dealing with real people. All the customer service training you’ve acquired should apply on social media. When you’re dealing with people, you’ve got to think about how they will respond. Sometimes a business can never recover from bad social publicity, so always think about your response before you reply.

Look at the negative review objectively with your team and figure what the core of the problem the customer is complaining about. Is this the first time you’ve seen this type of feedback, or is there a trend developing? Understanding the root cause of the problem can help mend broken customer relationships.

Always thank customers for their feedback

Consideration, interaction, and implementation is how you turn feedback into a better experience for all future guests. How you respond to public reviews will have a significant influence on your social following and subsequently, your positioning as a business.

Negative reviews can be useful for business so they, like positive reviews, should be responded to positively. Each review is a window into the customer experience with your business. Therefore, you may find that you can enhance the customer experience by taking the given feedback on board.

Even if the review is negative, giving a positive response and addressing concerns will help to build your business’s reputation. When responding, explain what has been done to address the problem at hand, so the reviewer and potential customers are reassured that concerns are taken seriously.

Demonstrate a willingness to resolve problems for future customer experiences. It’s important not to be defensive and all responses are polite and professional. Further, the power of social media should not be underestimated, staff within a business should be trained to use it properly.

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