I’d like to introduce this guest blog post by Kristina Aguirre walking you through how to respond to bad reviews for your pet business. Obviously, we never want these to happen, but they can, and unfortunately, do happen. It’s part of business!
This post also serves as a wonderful compliment to one of our other blog posts, Testimonials for Your Pet Business: How to Get Them & Use Them and we would highly recommend giving that a read after going through this post! Without further ado, enjoy the post below for advice on how to handle and respond to these annoying (let’s be honest) bad reviews that can come our way as pet business owners.
We all know that we need to gather testimonials and reviews from customers. They help you build trust with customers and it gives future customers some insight on how you run your business. Testimonials and reviews are also great ways to get more online visibility for your pet business.
One inevitable outcome? Bad reviews. We know they're uncomfortable to get and may be a little hurtful or irritating to read. Don’t panic! Every business gets bad reviews. Most bad reviews are opportunities to learn more about your customers and what they want from your business.
However, there are some bad reviews that get under our skin. A past customer may be attacking your business or spewing lies about their experience with you. Unfortunately, this is the nature of some online reviews
The good news is that you can turn a bad review around. We’ll go over some steps you can take when you run into a bad review as well as an example from a real pet business.
Steps For Responding To Bad Reviews
It can get overwhelming when responding to negative reviews. Keep these tips in mind the next time you get one.
1. Make time to respond right away
Respond to the customer as soon as you can while it’s fresh in their mind. It lets them know that you care enough about their experience to address and correct it as soon as possible.
2. Take your emotion out of the equation
This isn’t easy, but necessary. Walk away from the review so you can collect yourself before responding. Look at the legitimate concerns of their review first so you can work on addressing those issues. Take a fair and respectful approach with your response, even if the reviewer isn’t as kind.
3. Say you’re sorry
An apology goes a long way. If you were consistently late dropping off your client’s pet, then you need to own up to it and apologize.
You should also apologize for their negative experience, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. This seems strange, but hear us out. This is not the same thing as accepting responsibility, because you shouldn’t accept responsibility for something that didn’t happen or isn’t true. Instead, simply say that you’re sorry they had a bad experience - because, regardless, they are struggling and upset which is never fun, and we can be sorry for that piece of it. You never want anyone to have a negative experience with your business, regardless of who is at fault or what happened.
You’re not accepting any responsibility, but you’re still acknowledging that the reviewer is upset. This empathy can help diffuse the situation so you can both work towards a solution. Don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to set some things straight in the next step.
Keep your apology short and sweet. You can start to look insincere if you spend your entire response apologizing to the customer.
4. Explain the situation and how you’ll fix it in the future
You’re not making excuses for poor service or products in this step. Instead, you’re giving both the reviewer and potential customers some background on what happened. You’ll need to offer a quick explanation if a unique situation happened on that day or if the reviewer is exaggerating some points in their review.
Keep your explanation succinct as well. You only need to explain enough to give some context about what happened and how you’re planning to make it right in the future. For example, a client may have been upset with a sudden price increase for your pet sitting services. You can briefly explain why the increase happened and that you’re planning to give clients more advanced notice in the future.
5. Go offline
The end goal is to close out this issue offline. Leave your direct contact details so the customer knows how to get in touch if they have more questions or feedback. This step may be necessary if you’re issuing a refund and need to confirm any personal details.
Example Of Responding To Bad Reviews
This example features a customer who wasn’t satisfied with their service at a veterinarian’s office. They were upset and started to accuse the business’ staff of poor service. Check out how this owner responded.
Thanks to Womply for this amazing example!
This business owner could’ve gotten upset with the accusations in the review. However, they lead with gratitude and first thanked them for their review. They also respectfully defended their staff. This is a great example of acknowledging the reviewer without accepting responsibility for things that didn’t happen.
Responding to bad reviews doesn’t need to be painful every time. You just need a level head and a plan so you can stay consistent every time. After you’ve figured out your system, you can focus on taking that feedback to improve your business and earn more positive reviews.
Author bio information
Name: Kristina Aguirre
Title: Director of Small Business Acquisition at Womply
Bio: Kristina is the director of small business acquisition at Womply, a fast-growing software company that helps small businesses thrive. She has more than ten years of experience growing businesses of all sizes with data-driven marketing strategies. Prior to joining Womply, she led multiple initiatives to grow users, improve data collection, and partnered with leaders in the industry to improve customer and advertiser experiences.
P.S. Don’t forget to give this related blog post a read. While obviously bad reviews can happen, the more positive testimonials and reviews we can have for our pet businesses, the better! Here it is → Testimonials for Your Pet Business: How to Get Them & Use Them