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Study: Customers Often Talk To The Manager Before Writing a 1-star Review



When all other attempts to serve a customer fails, bring in the manager. He or she will pull satisfaction out of a hat. Or at least that’s the hope.

The data tells us a different story, however. By looking at the reviews that mentioned talking to a manager, we found that 80% resulted in a 1-star review. And in many cases, those reviewers tried multiple avenues in an attempt to get their issues resolved. Essentially, these customers are turning to the internet as a last resort.

Involving a Manager Isn't Always a Solution for Small Businesses

When is it time to retrain your managers?

If you’re receiving multiple 1-star reviews for your business that reference talking to the manager, it may be time to retrain them to be more customer-centric. This is critical, as issues that start at the manager level trickle down to the rest of your staff. And that can trigger a feedback loop that can go downhill fast. For ideas on how to correct course, check out our article on improving your customer service experience.

Turn critical reviews into positive insights

As business owners, we can’t always prevent bad customer experiences from happening. But what we can do is learn from these experiences. It’s helpful to view the critical feedback we receive as insights into how we can improve.

If you have a frustrated customer in the future, and they end up leaving a 1-star review of your business, you can still turn that experience into a positive. You’ll want to start by reading the review, and then re-reading it. Try to get an understanding of where the customer was coming from that perhaps they were unable to explain in the moment.

Ask yourself: What did the customer expect? Why did they expect that? Where was the misunderstanding? Why did that occur? And what changes can I make to prevent this situation in the future?

Use those insights to send a public response or a direct message

The experience that lead to the 1-star review might be over, but when a customer leaves feedback, it gives you another chance to continue the conversation. It’s a good idea to start with a public response, so that other potential customers can see that you can manage conflict well.

Start your response off with a sincere thank you for taking the time to write a review—even if you disagree with their opinions. Then use the reflection you did earlier to write a sincere response that addresses the issues the review brought up.

You can also try sending the reviewer a direct message if you like. This can be a great way to get more information from the customer about what may have went wrong, which you can use for future action. And who knows, you may even be able to resolve the issue that lead to the review in the first place. Check out our article on the dos and don’ts of responding to reviews to learn more.


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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.

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