Online reviews are a huge influence on whether a client will do business with you.
If you don’t monitor and take care of your reviews you run the risk of sending a potential client straight to one of your competitors.
But it’s not just the review that’s significant.
How you respond is often more important than the review itself.
Not responding to a review, especially a negative one is just as bad as responding poorly.
Receiving a negative review can be a surprise. Especially if you didn’t know there was a problem to begin with.
They’re very important to deal with though.
Online reviews are public and they will be read by other people who are considering doing business with you.
Once posted to the Internet they remain there forever.
The Most Important Rule for Responding to Negative Reviews
Every case is different so it’s not like you can use the same strategy with every response.
There is one rule however to always keep in mind when responding to a negative review.
Imagine that you’re standing in a big room surrounded by people considering buying a home from you.
The angry client is loud enough that everyone can hear.
Your response might not convince the angry client. It will however influence everyone else who’s thinking about doing business with you.
Thinking like this can help you make a much more thoughtful response.
Remember no matter what you post there’s a huge audience.
Just like the review, your response will be on the Internet forever. Anyone searching for you or your business in the future will see it.
How to Handle Negative Reviews
When it comes to a negative review on the Internet simply handle it just like you would in person.
Apologize for a mistake even if the customer is wrong. Remember the old rule of “the customer is always right.”
Don’t let your ego or feelings get in the way.
It’s never worth it.
Always keep things professional.
Try to be empathetic. If it helps you can imagine that the angry reviewer is a friend or relative. Then think about how you’d address them instead.
Do your best to help the customer and offer them a way to contact you directly so get the problem taken care of.
Remember again that people are watching how you respond so make a show of being as helpful as possible.
Even if you can’t stand this customer and you know they’re in the wrong.
Try to Catch Complaints Before they Turn into Reviews
Think about putting a process in place to catch complaints ahead of time. That way you can fix them before they turn into negative reviews.
Leaving a negative review is usually the last thing a customer does after they’ve exhausted all other options.
Therefore make it as easy as possible for your clients to leave complaints.
Use a regular email address and phone number specifically for complaints.
Post these everywhere you can. Your website, social media pages, business card, etc.
If you have employees be sure that your staff is trained to resolve complaints.
57% of consumer complaints are the result of poor customer service or employee behaviour.
Keep a record of all your complaints and look for patterns that can be fixed.
This way you can fix your problems before future clients ever experience them.
Some People Will Never Be Happy
Of course there are some people that will never be happy no matter what you do.
These people are impossible to please.
They love to complain and a lot of the time are just trying to get free stuff.
They’ll leave you negative reviews and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Remember that when you’re responding to these reviews the response isn’t for them.
There’s nothing you can do to fix their problems.
Your response instead is going to help convince future clients to do business with you when they see how professionally you handled this difficult person.
Plus when you have tons of positive reviews having the odd negative one looks more natural.
People won’t assume you’re paying for positive reviews or anything like that.
And a well crafted response to a negative review will help your reputation much more than the negative review could hurt it.
People trust people that they like.
Everything that you do needs to show your clients that you’re willing to work hard to fix any problem.
Obviously you’re not going to be able to make every person happy.
It’ll be obvious that you tried though and that’s what matters.
Focus on improving an angry clients experience and it’ll show every other person not only that you care but that you would be there to help them if they were to have a problem.
This post first appeared on the Realty Digital Marketing Professional Community here: How Real Estate Agents Need to Respond to Negative Online Reviews