Best Practices: Handling Negative Reviews
By Alyssa Browning
As business owners we strive to provide a customer experience that will be memorable- in a good way-, but sometimes we come across people that we just can’t please. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes no matter how hard we try, we still receive negative reviews. When this happens we often take it personally and assume that this person is out to harm our business. We might feel powerless or upset since it is unlikely that the review will be removed. However, Google has some best practices to help business owners combat what may be reputation damaging reviews.
The first step is reading the review, and noting the specific details. There are two sides to every story, and this is your customers side - though it may be inaccurate. It is important to understand their concerns if you are to address them properly. Remember not to take it personally, because this is merely their point of view.
In relation to the first step, you will want to check your self storage software for your tenants information. You’ll want to confirm that this person is in fact a customer, and read any notes you have regarding past interactions with this person. This gives you the background information needed to move forward in a calm and professional manner.
Next, respond to the review in a professional manner that addresses their concerns. Many times, when responding to criticism, we feel defensive and as such will generate a defensive response. However, you should resist the urge to do this and make things as matter of fact as possible. This shows any future customers reading these reviews that you do care about your tenants and your business. In addition, using the person’s name in your response can go a long way for repairing the situation. A good example of a response to a review criticizing your customer service could be “Dear John, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We take our customer service very seriously and would like to help resolve this issue. Please give us a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again for your feedback and business!”
This response shows that you care and that you are addressing their specific concern while offering support and potential solutions.
Once you have responded to the review, discussed the situation with the client, and resolved the issue, keep it in your notes to follow up. Many self storage management softwares allow you to add notes to a tenant’s account. Make a note of the day the issue was resolved, follow up in a few weeks, and even ask if the customer is willing to change their review now that the problem has been resolved.
Finally, as mentioned previously, it is extremely difficult to get reviews removed from your page. However, when all else fails you can “drown out” the negative reviews with the positive ones. Many self storage owners send thank you cards to tenants who have been with them and paid on time for a while. In their thank you card they may include a $5 gift card or discount code. In addition, they will often times simply ask their tenant to leave a review on their page. You can ask in whatever way suits your business, but the key is to remember to ask!
In closing, remember that this is an inevitable part of owning a business. Do what you can to resolve the situation and then move on. These things will happen, but remember that you are not powerless! Good luck!