We live in an age where online reviews and feedback can truly make or break a business. 60% of consumers say that negative reviews made them not want to use a business– a staggering statistic when you consider that these negative reviews frequently don’t tell the whole story, are often just a customer looking for assistance, or worse- issues that could be easily resolved and remedied with some attention and TLC.
One of my best-kept-secrets of customer service is a skill I’ve come to refine and refer to as “the sandwich”. It’s a simple, predictable equation to drafting responses to reviews, emails, and other customer feedback that almost always facilitates a crowd-pleasing resolution.
“The sandwich” arose from some key business advice I once received from a dear mentor of mine, who advised that you should always “sandwich” the bad with the good. It’s a simple concept in practice, but a valuable tool when used well and wisely. At a glance, the sandwich looks a little like this:
- Thank the customer (for their feedback or taking the time to reach out)
- Address the “bad” (the issue(s) they are experiencing or complaint they mentioned)
- Take the conversation offline
- Thank them again
The approach in and of itself is simple, but the mindset is everything. You approach the customer with an open mind, offering gratitude first and foremost. You address the “bad” that was mentioned in the best, most productive way possible- keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is resolution. Taking the conversation offline allows you to learn more about what’s going on, to craft a thoughtful action plan to resolve the issue, and to really invest time into turning the situation around. Finishing the response with a final “thank you” reiterates your true appreciation for what is ultimately an opportunity you’ve been given to solve problems, correct issues, and turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Why It Matters
- Americans across the board report telling more people about poor service (15 people on average) than about good experiences (11).
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Every additional one-star increase in rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%
Experiences That Inspire
My favorite part of reputation management, and the ultimate sign of a job well-done, is a happy customer. You’ll know you’ve mastered “the sandwich” when you restore the customer relationship and regain a loyal brand fan in the way you handle the situation. We frequently find that a once unhappy reviewer, when listened to and treated with respect to resolve issues, is often more than happy to go back and remove the review or even write a positive one to better express the experience they’ve had with us.
The key here is to provide customers with experiences that inspire. Going above and beyond to help them in such a way that their issues are not only resolved, but also feel inspired to write home about how helpful and extraordinary their experience with us was. Give them something great to talk about!
Turning frustrated reviewers into vocal brand champions is the hallmark of a company who has truly mastered the customer experience.