How to Deal with Negative Reviews Online From Clients
Discover how to deal with negative reviews online from clients so you can build an online presence, attract new clients, promote your work and share testimonials.
Amy Filippaios, who is the founder of salon wholesaler Simply Hair UK explains lockdown has shown that digital platforms and social media can help hairdressing and beauty businesses keep in touch with existing clients and even provide income through retail sales. She does also add that on the flipside, negative comments and posts can damage the benefits.
Dealing with negative reviews online from clients
Here are Amy’s words of wisdom on how to tackle negative online client reviews effectively…
Sadly, many business owners find themselves dealing with difficult clients online, managing negative reviews and even trolling, which can harm profitability and reputation and cause personal distress.
Firstly, do not take negative feedback to heart. This is easier said than done, as for many of us, our profession is an extension of ourselves but it’s important to remember, you cannot please everyone all of the time. The best thing you can do is address it head on and respond to acknowledge that you have heard their concerns. Ignoring a review or deleting it all together will only upset the client further, it also reflects as poor client service to onlookers.
Take discussions about negative reviews online away from a public platform
Instead look to move any ongoing discussions away from a public platform to a private space, ideally your inbox. Consider a polite message such as:
“Thank you for your feedback, we would love to discuss this in more detail and a member of our team will be in touch by email very soon/please let us know your email address so we can look into this for you”.
This minimises any further negative comments or personal details appearing publicly. It can also defuse the situation, as the client understands the matter is being taken seriously and a dedicated person is looking into it for them.
Try to resolve any issues
If you have made a mistake or have identified an area of improvement as a result of the review, acknowledge it and explain any action taken to prevent it from happening again. Whilst a resolution is not always possible, for example, if the client is at fault, offering the client a gesture of goodwill, which could be as simple as a discount voucher, can repair ill-feelings.
Working from home due to Coronavirus lockdowns means that communicating with clients and customers online has become standard. More ways to connect with clients via direct messages, comments or email, can be rewarding, however it can result in more challenging conversations.
It is very easy to slip into more casual conversation when speaking online but maintain an element of professionalism. This is particularly important if your interactions can be viewed by other clients or prospective customers. It also ensures that clients understand that time and consideration is given to all conversations.
Leave the message unread outside of working hours
Keep engagement to sociable, working hours. It can be tempting to respond as soon as you see a comment but unless you have the resources to fully commit to the conversation. For example, if you receive a booking inquiry but don’t have access to your diary, leave the message unread. This will prevent the client feeling frustrated that you can’t answer their questions, will prevent you from becoming flustered when you are getting ready for bed and will set expectations for the future.
As long as interactions remain professional and civil, having difficult conversations with clients often leads to constructive, positive outcomes when handled correctly. Unfortunately, from behind a screen, people can be nastier than they would face-to-face.
Withdraw from abusive conversations immediately
Our default is to accept that the customer or client is always right but if someone becomes aggressive you are well within your rights to shut the conversation down. Withdraw from abusive conversations immediately. Simply stating that you are keen to resolve concerns but do not tolerate abusive language can quickly calm situations down.
Positivity is the best counteraction for negative reviews. Concentrate on securing positive testimonials and sharing successful treatments and good news stories online, which will build your reputation as a stylist and outweigh anything bad.
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