If you're in our Insurance Group on Facebook, you know that we're working on a new feature - an agent referral map - where agents from around the country can locate, refer and review other insurance agents when a client is in need of one. There's a general willingness to help each other succeed in our online community and this should be a way for agents to hook up their clients with someone else they know they can trust based on other agent reviews. But it's got to work both ways because with the good reviews, there's always a chance the bad reviews will come too.
Unfortunately, none of us are immune to a rough day on the job or a client that we can't make happy, no matter how hard we try. We're all going to run into a customer or client we can't please. So because we're in the process of creating a referral mode that could bring you good and bad reviews, we want to make sure you know how to prepare for, and respond to, the latter.
STEP 1. CALMLY RECONNECT. Reading a negative review from an unhappy client or colleague is a punch to the gut. The human reaction is to start running defense but in business, you've got to redirect. Contact the client directly and see if there's a way to better understand their unpleasant experience with you or your business. You may be able to turn their experience around with calm, clear-headed customer service.
Step 2. FIGURE OUT HOW YOU CAN PIVOT? This is not the time for a debate, especially if the review has been left on a public forum. The first and best thing you can do once someone has explained their bad experience to you is find out how you can make it right. Is there a way to readdress their issue so that the outcome can be changed? Can you offer them something in the future? Your best shot at redemption is to calm find a solution that works for them and helps them believe that you care about their interaction with your company.
Step 3. ASK TO START FRESH. If you feel you and your customer have reached an understanding and are able to start over again on the right foot, ask the customer to consider removing the negative review, or at the very least, to update it so that your attempt at remedying the situation can be noted. This alone could mean much more than even a good review. When other potential customers know that you tried to right the wrong situation, you could gain news business on principle.
A bad review can be only temporary if dealt with properly and quickly, and in some cases can be avoided altogether. Things like comment cards and post-phone call surveys are great ways to head these kinds of situations off at the pass. If you're on site, you have the opportunity to identify potential problems that could arise before the escalate to an unpleasant customer experience. When your employees are dealing with customers, try to be within earshot to see how the interactions are going and be sure to step in when something comes up on the fly.
Look at a negative review as a way to improve your business and your customer service protocols and you'll see fewer and fewer of them down the line.