The consignment industry is driven by strong relationships.

When you have a great relationship with your consignors, they’ll help support your business by bringing new items for you to sell and referring you to new customers. The same thing happens when you have a healthy relationship with your shoppers.

Unfortunately, even the best companies run into the occasional negative review.

While this may seem like a simple hazard of doing business, even a single negative review can have a significant impact on your company.

According to Business2Community, about 22% of customers will overlook a company if they see even one negative online review.

Needless to say, this could be devastating for a small consignment company!

Luckily, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage and get ahead of bad online reviews.

Here’s your starter guide.

4 Smart Ways to Deal With Negative Online Reviews

No matter how hard you work to keep your customer relations strong and positive, you’ll eventually have to deal with a bad review from an upset customer or consignor.  

While you may hope that these people would come to you, first, the chances are minimal. In many cases, these upset customers just head straight to the web.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, here’s how to address it:

1. Get Ahead of the Problem

As soon as you notice an online review, jump on it.

While it can be uncomfortable to deal with an upset customer or consigner, sitting still only makes the problem worse.

Because 92% of customers read online reviews, and 40% of customers form their opinion about a company after reading just 2-3 reviews, it pays to move fast.

With this in mind, try to get ahead of the issue as quickly as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Train your employees to fetch a manager immediately if a customer or consignor has a complaint in the store.
  • If a consignor sends a heated email regarding payouts or donated items, reply right away and suggest setting up a phone call to discuss the problem.  
  • Never respond in an aggressive or confrontational way, as this only escalates the issue and makes it harder to resolve it amicably.

Getting ahead of a complaint keeps the anger level low, and can even stop the problem before it becomes a nasty online review.  

If you don’t manage to catch the customer before they issue an online complaint, respond to the complaint with the personal email or phone number of a manager, express regret that they’re experiencing issues, and make it clear that you’ll do everything in your power to resolve the problem.

3. Take a Visual Stance

According to HelpScout, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

Unfortunately, there are many dissatisfied customers who would prefer to take up their grievance on social media or Yelp rather than with you personally.

In these cases, the best thing you can do is respond immediately to the person’s poor review, or repost the bad review on your Facebook page and address the issue for all of your followers.  

The kind of response you issue depends on the severity of the review. In some cases, you might only need to write a simple reply. In others, you’ll need to explain the situation, apologize, and detail what you did to fix the solution for the customer.  

No matter what, remember that this is a “customer is always right” situation.

4. Keep Detailed Records

Many bad reviews come from angry consignors who felt neglected during the consignment process.  

Often, this is because they forgot about items that have become store inventory or are upset about a payout that wasn’t as high as they expected.  

The best solution for these situations is to keep detailed records. When you can refer back to comprehensive documents, it’s easier to explain the situation to a customer and keep them from feeling like they go the short end of the stick.

With this in mind, be sure that expired items and payout history are well documented in your consignment software. Go the extra mile to make it accessible to your employees, as well.

Bad Reviews Don’t Mean the End of Your Business

While getting a bad review can be discouraging, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your consignment business. When you’re proactive about dealing with negative reviews, they can help grow your following, brand you as a respectful and dedicated company, and ensure your customers stay happy – both now and in the years to come.