We have written a lot about the value of responding to negative reviews, but putting theory to practice is never that simple. Sometimes the review is unfair. What’s worse, many reviews sites do not allow you to challenge erroneous reviews — the kind written by competitors and former employees. In these situations, it is not clear how to proceed. So, it is worth looking closely at real examples.
This is the first in a series of posts in which I will examine some of my favorite owner responses.
Even when someone has the facts completely wrong, it is important not to get defensive. Your response is more about you as a professional than the particulars of the review. In this example, C and M Moving of Houston have established an excellent online reputation, and they do an incredible job of assuring their prospects without necessarily calling the reviewer out. In fact, despite the harsh language, they even offer to work with the reviewer again.
Summary: We got Ripped OFF!
Review: Once our move was completed we were over charged by nearly $700.00! We tried to work with Ron the owner and were treated very unprofessionally. I would not ever trust these people with your credit card number. They have no honor to what they tell you.
C and M Moving and Storage response:
Mr. Lewis, I hate to hear that you were dissatisfied with the price of your move. When our customers are not satisfied, I am not satisfied. After 11 years we had hoped that by giving our customers a final price estimate before the move, a contract that includes the final price before the move, and an invoice detailing all charges after the move that we could eliminate misunderstandings about the cost of a move. Apparently, we have more work to do on that front. Meanwhile, we appreciate your business and dont want to lose you as a customer. When your current apartment lease is up, call us back. We will meet or beat any move estimate that you get. Satisfaction Guaranteed!
C And M moving achieve three things with their response:
1. They Assure their Prospects
The most clear takeaway from this response is that C and M moving is upfront about their costs. Anyone who reads this review will know what to expect from C and M Moving; i.e., “final price estimate before the move, a contract that includes the final price before the move, and an invoice detailing all charges after the move.”
It is not necessary to dispute every claim made by a reviewer, and in fact, explanations can seem like excuses. However, it is very important that you assure your prospects that they will not have a similar experience. In many cases, the best strategy is to own the mistake, but when the reviewer has the facts wrong, business owners can respond by politely and succinctly reminding the reviewer how their service works.
2. They affirm Their Standards
C And M Moving understand that their response is a unique opportunity to demonstrate their professional ethic to their prospective customers. Lest there be any mistake, the owner affirms his personal standards right at the top: “When our customers are not satisfied, I am not satisfied.”
One of the essential elements to any good response is brevity. People are less likely to read long responses, so you have to make your point quickly. C And M Moving do not post their entire mission statement, but they do set the stage for their comments by sharing a brief insight into what makes them special.
3. They End it with a Gesture
The most important objective is reassuring your prospective customers. After that, you want to build affinity. You do that by demonstrating your professionalism. Especially industries like moving, the ability to engender trust is a powerful differentiator. But, C And M Movers take it a step further by ending their response with a gesture.
Sometimes the best gesture is simply offering to work with someone again. This is an especially meaningful gesture when the reviewer is harsh or unfair. More importantly, it is important to end the response on a strong, positive note if possible. This is the very last thing prospective customers will read in this review, so it worth leaving an impression on them.