Calm Down & Listen Up
Immediately after you’ve read a negative review of your business is not the time to respond.
Of course you want to be prompt, but you also want to give yourself time to cool off, time to think about and plan your response, and time to show customers that you’ve given the issue proper consideration.
The worst thing you can do is get angry. Never argue or escalate the situation. Even if you believe a reviewer is wrong, consider how an unprofessional, defensive response will look to your larger audience – or potential customers.
Once you are calm, cool, and collected, go back over the review and really listen to what the customer is saying. Some reviews will be unwarranted and offer no helpful feedback, but many can bring legitimate concerns to light and give you suggestions for improvement.
If any names are mentioned, talk to the staff members who served the customer to gain additional insight and hear their side of the story. Find out what went wrong and then begin to brainstorm how you can fix the issue and how you can appease the upset customer.
Respond: Appreciate, Apologize, Acknowledge, & Address
After reading a negative review as objectively as possible, it is time to respond in an understanding, apologetic, and kind tone. On most review sites you can respond privately or publicly.
Responding privately lets you address the issue without drawing attention to it. However, a negative review left unanswered could raise red flags for other customers.
Responding publicly allows you to address the problem at hand and simultaneously offer an explanation to others who have experienced a similar issue and show your entire online audience that you care enough to respond. When handled appropriately, responding publicly can be a good PR move because it will show potential customers that you care about your customer service and take the time and effort to improve it.
Either way, address the customer by name.
Start your message off by thanking the reviewer for their business and their feedback, apologizing, and acknowledging and taking responsibility for their complaint. Summarize the issue in your own words and empathize with the reviewer’s perspective. If possible, explain what went wrong and what you are doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Next, encourage the customer to visit your food truck again, offering an incentive like a discount or a free meal, so your business will have a chance to make things right.