Negative reviews are every business’s worst nightmare. It is easy to see why. According to reports, 80% of consumers don’t trust businesses with ratings lower than 4 stars while 94% are turned away by negative reviews. Bad reviews can drastically hurt your sales and business in general. They can be so bad that some businesses have often opted to sue their customers for scathingly negative reviews. However, it is how you deal with them that makes or breaks you. Here are a few tips on how to deal with negative reviews and articles:
Acknowledge the feedback and apologise for the experience : It doesn’t matter whether a customer is right or wrong and what you think. Online reviews are more of a customer’s experience and feelings about your business rather than the facts pertaining to any situation. You can’t argue with them about how they feel. An apology for the bad experience, while assuring them that that’s not how you do business, can help in defusing the situation. Most businesses are usually tempted to just delete the negative reviews. This doesn’t help as it is natural to have a few unhappy customers. It only shows you as lacking transparency and accountability and makes your positive reviews questionable. In the age of social proofing, that’s the last thing you want.
Keep the response short : Writing long responses while commenting on a negative review makes it look as if you are defending yourself. This only legitimises the complaint. Publicly going into details and asking follow-up questions could only further incite an already upset customer. Instead, try the next tip.
Handle the situation offline and in private : There will be very few instances where you can resolve customers’ issues publicly. Try to keep the conversation private and, if possible, offline. Provide the reviewer with contact information and the name of a specific person they will be engaging with. Reviewers are likely to soften their stance when they know they will be dealing with an individual instead of a faceless business. This will also show that you take their concerns seriously enough to dedicatedly appoint someone for them.
Show that you have improved : Your customers are more interested in what else you are doing to improve their experiences than just responding to reviews. Learn from the negative reviews and take steps to improve. Sharing the reviews with your team helps build a customer-centric mindset and prevent similar complaints in the future. While some customers are likely to change their negative reviews to positive, don’t expect much praise when you improve your services. Reports indicate that customers who’ve had positive experiences are unlikely to leave a review.
It is up to you to show that you have improved. You can publish reports showing how you have improved, say by hiring new and experienced staff and having new compliance policies in place. You should also create more content and run Google PPC to stay on top of the negative articles. Working on your Google score and staying at the top of search engine rankings helps vis-a-vis reputation management.
Ask happy customers to leave reviews : Negative reviews are inevitable. Not every customer will enjoy their interaction with your business. However, on average, the number of happy customers will always be more than the ones with a bad experience. As indicated above, happy customers rarely give their reviews. If you don’t get a lot of reviews from happy customers, the negative ones will always stand out. This is not something you want, especially considering the fact that 68% customers would be willing to pay 15% more for a product as long as they are assured of a positive experience. The good news is that 77% customers are always willing to leave a review. It is up to you to find ways to encourage them to leave a review.
Negative reviews are not bad for your business if you have the right tools and a proper review management strategy in place. Bad reviews on Google shouldn’t kill your business. Contact us if you need an effective online reputation management service for your business.
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