When Customers Hand You Lemons: 5 Steps To Making the Most Out Of a Negative Review

negative-reviews; online-persona-management; customer-engagement Of course, there’s the other side of the social media coin. What if someone makes a negative comment about your business? 

We’ve all heard the wonderful advice that when life hands us lemons, we’re supposed to make lemonade, but what if those lemons come from customers online? How can you make the most out of a negative comment or review? Here are five steps you can take to turn those lemons into lemonade.

1. Don’t get defensive. Acknowledge your customer’s problem—and frustration. Be empathetic. This is actually a platform for you to establish that you care. “Our goal at Widgets-R-Us is to make sure our customers have the best widget experience possible. We’re really sorry that you’re not having that experience, yet. Let’s see what we can do to make it better.”

2. Clarify the issue. Make sure you understand exactly what the customer’s problem or complaint is. If you address “A” and your customer is really talking about “B,” you’ll alienate you customer—and it will look like you’re not listening. 

3. Try to solve the problem. Think about the situation from the customer’s point of view. Go the extra mile and think outside the box to come up with a unique way to remedy your customer’s woes. This is a chance for you to show that you really are an expert in this field.

4. Ask for input. A big part of blogging and other forms of social media is engaging readers. Ask other customers and readers to share their experience. Not only will you get others involved (something people actually like to do), but if one of your other customers has a way to solve the problem, they’ll actually feel good about you! Plus, you just might learn something yourself. 

5. Take it offline. This shouldn’t be your first option and it shouldn’t be an excuse to get the problem out of sight. But sometimes a solution may involve an amount of detail that simply isn’t appropriate for general consumption. Keep your tone very positive. “We’d really like to fix this problem. Can we set up a one-on-one conversation in which we can get down into the details and come up with a good solution?”  This can demonstrate your willingness to help and lets readers know that you’re serious about customer service.

Getting a negative comment or review isn’t the end of the world. As a matter of fact, it can actually show that you’re real. It can actually make you more believable as a company. Everybody stumbles. It’s how you deal with it that makes the difference. It’s important to remember that dealing with negative comments or reviews is not about “spin.” It’s not about pretending that lemons aren’t sour—it’s about figuring out what you need to add to them to make everybody happy. 

What are some ways you turn lemons into lemonade?