Online reputation has a significant impact on the success of your business. According to research, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as their friends’ recommendations. Online reviews help people make purchasing decisions and they can increase your sales or damage your reputation. Therefore, even if your business is small, we recommend that you always monitor your customers’ feedback.
When you try hard to provide the best customer experience, dealing with negative reviews can be a challenge. Some business owners get so upset after reading negative reviews on social media that they decide to stop using social media at all. However, people leave their reviews not only on social media but also on Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, etc. You cannot run from your own customers.
Of course, reading negative reviews about your business may make you feel angry. However, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore them or try to fight customers who are not satisfied with your products or services. Both of these approaches will only create more problems.
“No matter how good you are, negative feedback is inevitable because it’s impossible to satisfy everyone. Therefore, you should choose a proactive approach and react to negative comments in the right way. Here are some tips that will help you,” says Adam Simon of LegitWritingServices — essay writing services review website.
1. Acknowledge the problem
You should understand that if people leave negative comments, they just want to be heard. The worst thing you can do is blame them for it. Your brand’s reputation depends on your ability to connect with your customers and help them. You should acknowledge the issue and emphasize the fact that you’re listening to your customers and care about them. Tell them that you’re sorry that their customer experience wasn’t perfect.
Acknowledging the problem is the first step to solving it. You should make sure that other customers won’t find themselves in the same situation, and you also need the unsatisfied customer to change their mind. The ultimate goal is to make them change their negative review to a positive one. You may contact the customer outside of the platform where they’ve left their review and discuss the issue in more detail. Even if the problem is not your fault, you should be ready to explain the situation and apologize.
2. Respond ASAP
Negative reviews start to damage your reputation as soon as customers leave them. Moreover, the worst thing about reviews is that they can quickly go viral. Therefore, you should handle them quickly. Besides, if you respond quickly, you will demonstrate that you care about your customers and want to help them.
Don’t lash out, even if a customer is angry and the review is harsh. For example, if you see that a customer is “yelling” at you in all caps, you shouldn’t respond the same way because, unlike them, you cannot risk your reputation. Make sure that your response is professional and never get personal. Ignore any insults and simply address legitimate concerns. Get straight to the point, thank your customers for taking the time to write their review, and offer possible solutions.
It’s also important to point out that not all reviews deserve your response. Sometimes, you may be dealing with online bullies who don’t express any actual concerns and are only looking for attention. If you respond to such reviews, you may only get more insults. Fortunately, most consumers can tell the difference between online bullies and legitimate customers.
We also recommend that you try to remove abusive content. Some negative reviews may be written by your competitors, and if they post many reviews, they can create a problem even if your products or services are actually great. In this case, you can contact the website owner and ask them to remove this content. Most review sites allow you to report comments that go against their terms of service.
3. Offer some compensation
No matter what you’re selling, you should do your best to make your customers want to come back. Recurring customers are extremely valuable. According to statistics, they tend to spend three times more than one-time buyers. Obviously, a customer might come back if they are happy with their customer experience. However, even dissatisfied customers may return if they see that you genuinely care about them.
For example, you may receive a negative review because of an issue that wasn’t your fault. Your customer may have received a product too late because of the delivery company, or they may have had problems with their payment because of the payment service. In this case, there’s nothing you can do to fix the problem. However, you can still change the customer’s mind by providing some form of compensation.
You may offer a discount, a coupon, or a free product or service. Some companies use this approach and manage to take advantage of negative reviews, attracting more customers. For example, a small restaurant Botto Bistro managed to become one of the worst-reviewed restaurants on Yelp because it offered a 50% discount to everyone who wrote a bad review. As a result, the restaurant got even more customers and increased its revenue.
4. Ask your customers to remove negative reviews
When the problem is solved, you should also make sure that the negative review itself is no longer on the platform. Satisfied customers may simply forget to edit or remove their reviews. Ask your customers to edit their review and to explain that you’ve solved the problem. This way, other people will see that your company takes every customer’s review seriously.
When someone leaves a negative review, they do it for a reason. They expect a certain outcome, and if they get it, their negative review can change into a positive one.
5. Encourage positive reviews
We recommend that you put some effort into encouraging satisfied customers to leave their positive reviews. This way, you will balance negative and positive feedback, improving your online reputation. Besides, many review websites have star-based ratings so you need positive reviews to stay on top.
However, customers are less likely to leave positive reviews because they may lack the motivation to do so. To encourage them to leave good reviews, you may offer gift cards, discount codes, or premium subscriptions.
Negative reviews can be very dangerous for your online reputation. However, if you receive a negative review, you shouldn’t just ignore it or attack the customer who wrote it. You should handle negative reviews professionally, offering solutions to any problems and making sure that other customers won’t have such problems in the future. Show your customers that you care about them, and reviews will fork for you, not against you.