Negative reviews don’t have to ruin your day. In fact if handled correctly, they can be a powerful tool. According to recent industry research, most travellers are critical thinkers who can have their opinions swayed if a negative review is addressed in the right way. Study data revealed that the way a hotel reacts to criticism can change a traveler’s opinion and even their actions.
Here is how you should handle your next negative review
EMBRACE THE NEGATIVE
- A negative review is inevitable at some point
- Listen to your guests — listening means accepting good and bad
- The longer a negative review remains unanswered, the more people can be influenced by it
- Have someone scan and deal with reviews daily — ideally within 24 hours
UNDERSTAND WHAT THE GUEST’S CONCERNS ARE
- What is the guest concerned about? What are the key issues?
- Why is the guest reacting in this way?
- What did you do that triggered him?
ASSESS IF THE FEEDBACK IS TRUE
- Evaluate the feedback objectively!
- Is there any truth behind it?
- Is there an alternate perspective you might have missed?
- Is it something you should take a closer look at?
BE POLITE AND DON’T PLACE BLAME
- Always thank a guest for their feedback, be polite and don’t place blame
- Validate a guest’s concerns and accept responsibility where it’s due
REVIEW YOUR RESPONSE BEFORE YOU HIT SEND
- Always take a moment before responding
- Read over what you have written before you send or publish
LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
- A guest’s perspective may alert you to a better or different way of doing things
- Ask youself:
-What have I learned about myself?
-What have I learned about others?
-How can I improve? What can I do differently from now on?
DEVISE A SPECIFIC CONTENT STRUCTURE FOR YOUR RESPONSE
- Ensure that your frontline staff are well trained
- Establish a structure of response. For example:
-Thank the customer for their time writing a review
-Acknowledge any positive comments
-Apologize for the specific complaint or issue
-Explain a specific, forward-looking plan of how you will fix the problem
-Invite the customer to come back
RESPOND TO POSITIVE REVIEWS WITH A PERSONALIZED MESSAGE
- Responding to the positive reviews can be invaluable as well
- Potential customers have shown they’re more likely to stay at a hotel with personal responses
RECOGNIZE RECEIVING NEGATIVE FEEDBACK IS A POSITIVE THING
- See negative feedback as positive, because it shows there are people who want you to improve
- Negative feedback also identifies growth opportunities
- It may not be pleasant to receive, but negative feedback gives you a different perspective to consider
- By learning from various perspectives, you can grow much faster