By writing responses to reviews—especially negative ones—you show travelers that you care about feedback and customer service. Here are some tips for handling a bad review, and turning it into a positive situation!

Take time to digest the feedback.

Take time to properly digest the feedback and identify the root cause. If needed, divert your attention to something else until you can approach the situation with a level head. Then gather your team to go through the review together, objectively. What is the core problem that the reviewer experienced? Is this the first time you’ve seen this feedback, or is a trend developing? Take time to evaluate the problem or concern.

Write a draft first.

To check your tone and make sure you’re getting your message across sincerely, professionally, and concisely, first write a draft of your response in a word-processing document. Only post it once it meets your satisfaction.

Respond promptly.

If you respond promptly, you’ll show prospective customers that you take customer service seriously, and it’ll allow them to hear your side of the story.

Use a polite, professional tone.

Be aware that your response will be seen not just by the reviewer— it’ll be seen by prospective customers as well. This means that if you don’t agree with the reviewer, or think they’re being unfair, you’ll need to relay your side of the story courteously and unemotionally. An angry or defensive response is sure to turn off prospective customers.

Instead, be sure to express your appreciation for the traveler’s business and feedback, speak to their specific issues, offer a heartfelt apology for any shortfalls, and follow up with details on your action plan to rectify the issue. Always address them in a courteous and professional manner.

Don’t forget to say thanks!

By demonstrating appreciation for a customer writing a review, you’ll show that all feedback is important to you whether it’s good or bad. And if you agree with any complaints, provide a genuine apology.

Be specific in your response.

The more you can be specific in your solutions to complaints, the more you’ll build trust with your past and future customers.

Accentuate the positive.

Reiterate any positive comments the reviewer made to accentuate your business’s strengths. This also provides a chance to mention any related services or upgrades. Remember that your responses can be found by search engines, so if something negative comes up in a review, try not to repeat it in your response.

Take action to make improvements.

Once you have a grasp on what happened, decide if changes are necessary and develop an action plan if so. If the complaint refers to something you can’t fix, consider how to better set expectations for customers, perhaps with updates to your website, social media channels, or email communication. Continue to monitor future reviews to make sure others aren’t having the same problem.

No one gets it right all the time—rest assured that travelers know this, too. When a bad review comes in, take the opportunity to display your empathy and commitment to great service. By taking the customer’s feedback to heart and honestly addressing their concerns, you can build up customer loyalty and help make the experience for future customers even better.

About the Author: Dave Armenti

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