It is never easy to read a bad review that a customer leaves about you or the cakes/cookies you offer. Online reviews, however, matter. They build up the credibility of your home bakery business and provide valuable social proof.
According to Social Media Today, 97% of search engine users searched online to find a local business. And, you can assume many of those searchers are checking out online reviews.
But, a bad review for your home bakery is not the end of the world. It merely means that there was one-off day or situation when a customer felt that they could have had better service or that the product in question could have been of better quality.
How do you respond to those negative reviews online?
Your response to a negative review online should be prompt, effective, apologetic, and sincere. It is an opportunity to assuage them and as a way for you to ensure that it was a one-off, followed by a possible way to resolve the issue or complaint.
Let’s break the entire process down, and see how you can respond to negative reviews in the best possible way.
Why a Negative Review Online is Okay
Over the years, your home bakery is going to get bad reviews. That is the plain truth, and that is okay. Mistakes and miscommunications humanize you. Similarly, a negative review online humanizes your business and builds a rapport between you and the customer by giving you the chance to rectify the issue.
What would you think if you came across a restaurant with not one bad online review or a product that everyone is raving about that doesn’t appear to have a single lousy feature? Sounds fishy, doesn’t it?
So, having a few bad reviews in a long line of positive reviews is okay. However, there are certain things you can do to take your negative review and turn it around to come across in the best possible light? How? Read on!
How to Respond to Negative Reviews Positively
Your response to a negative online review is just as much to the customer who posted it for other prospective clients and customers who are reading these reviews to see if they can come to you and buy your baked goods.
1. Always Respond in a Time Manner
You might think that by responding to a complaint or a negative review, you’re unnecessarily drawing attention to it. Sometimes, the review in question could be completely obtuse, from a customer who you just can’t please. People can usually tell when a bad review is genuine and from a customer who’s full of hot air.
Irrespective of that, always respond and always respond promptly. Every bad review is an opportunity to put yourself out there and show that you’re a business owner who is not just the person behind the business, but the face of it.
2. Introduce Yourself and Thank the Customer for the Review
Yes, thank the guy who gave you the bad review. Why? By introducing yourself and your role in your business and subsequently thanking the customer for taking the time to write the review, you indicate your involvement in it and that you care about, value, and his opinion and want to do something about it.
Thank you for taking the time to share a detailed review of your recent order. I apologize for the inconvenience…”
3. Be Apologetic, Be Authentic, Be Authoritative
The customer is always right.
Say it with me. The customer is always right, even when he or she is dead wrong.
When there is a bad review out there on the Internet for the whole world to see, you aren’t going to be able to explain how that customer was the one being irrational earlier that day, or how you delivered that cake in perfect condition.
When you’re responding to the review, don’t immediately reply in anger or shock. Take a break, then take charge of the situation and apologize for the inconvenience or the bad experience. Make sure your response shows empathy, humility, and consideration.
I would like to apologize straight off the bat for the delay in your today. I understand how inconvenient it must have been, having to wait for half an hour to pick up your order….”
4. Offer to Take the Conversation Offline
This is not equivalent to let’s take this outside.
You’re not going to fight with your customer. By offering to reach out to him personally, via email, or a telephone call, you’re doing damage control and limiting his interaction with you on an online platform and not give him any more opportunities to make negative comments. While you’re doing that, don’t miss out on a chance to reinforce your business’ values and motto.
As the owner of my small home bakery, and have built up my business from scratch, I learned how important it is to place the customer and his needs above all else. With that in mind, I would appreciate the opportunity to speak to you further to discuss your order in depth.
Please view the private message I have sent, at your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you.”
5. Offer a Discount, Refund, Promotion, or a Do-over
But not right off the bat.
While this step is optional, it encourages the customer to come back, place another order, and hopefully have a different experience with your goodies. Getting to the bottom of the complaint or negative review will give you a better understanding of how to go about it.
If you believe the customer truly did have a hard time, you must do everything you can to make amends and show him the best of what you and your baked goodies can offer. Sometimes-most of the time– customers might spout lies to get free stuff. So, offering a discount or refund is entirely at your discretion, but advisable.
I am distressed by your experience and would like the opportunity to make it up to you. Send me a DM, and I’d love to offer you a batch of my best home-baked snickerdoodle cookies, on the house!”
I know what you are thinking. There can be a time when the customer is flat out WRONG. They were a nightmare and had totally unrealistic expectations. But, it is in your home bakery’s best interest to try to correct the situation, especially when it is in plain view on the Internet for everyone to see. Ultimately, it’s not my business, it’s YOUR BUSINESS, and you get to decide how you want to handle it. Just please, don’t respond in anger.
So, to wrap things up, when you respond to a negative review, remember to be prompt, be authentic, be empathetic, and be apologetic. That might seem like a tall order, but it’s a good thing you know how to provide good service, and now, you know how to apologize for a bad one! According to Bright Local, reviews can have a colossal impact on local consumers’ behavior. It’s clear that a business’s online reputation strongly affects whether customers choose to use a company.
Be sure to read my blog post about setting up Google My Business for your bakery. Reviews are a big piece of managing your online reputation.
Have you gotten my Essential 5 P’s for Perfect Product Pricing pdf yet? I created this freebie to take the guesswork out of determining how much to charge for baked goods. Sign up for my email list and your very first email has the pdf.
Check out my blog archive for more helpful articles. Follow me on Instagram at @whiskwarrior where I post tips, resources, and personal experiences operating a home bakery and retail bakeshop.