In the digital age, most people do research online before doing business with a company, whether it’s a big purchase like a car or something as small as a latte from a local coffee shop. Online reviews on Google, Yelp, and other services are often an important part of this research, as users are eager to learn about past customers’ experience. Because online reviews are such a big part of your company’s online reputation, many business owners and managers worry about the impact that negative online reviews can have on their business. Wondering what to do about a negative online review? Check out the tips below.
A few negative reviews can give your good reviews a ring of truth. On top of that-- no business is perfect, though business owners strive to be. Having nothing but positive reviews may lead consumers to question the authenticity of your reviews.
Still, too many negative reviews or comments are going to create a problem for your business. Let’s take a look at how you can make your online reviews work for your business — instead of against it.
Respond to the Review
One of the most important things to remember when receiving a negative review is to always respond. You should never ignore a negative review, as it will give the appearance that you don’t care about your customers or their feelings. It’s important to make every customer feel heard and cared about. When you respond to a negative review, you reinforce the idea that your company cares about its customers.
Don’t Try to Hide the Review
Any request to remove a complaint triggers an investigation, which includes contacting the user who posted the review. Trying to bury a complaint with positive reviews supplied by paid marketers won't work either.
Online reputation management companies generally try to bury bad reviews by boosting the search rankings of more positive information about a company. Tactics include publishing a series of online releases filled with positive news about the business and creating micro-Websites about a business's products as a way to divert online search results from the negative reviews.
Validate the Reviewer and Apologize
You should never get defensive when faced with a negative review. You should always acknowledge their problem and apologize for the issue and for the trouble it has caused them. When you try to defend your company rather than apologize, it can create a back and forth between you and the customer that will not help your company’s image. In order to maintain a positive image with your customers, it’s best to acknowledge the customer’s issue and apologize.
Promote a Positive Image
It’s important to acknowledge the issue that your customer has, but you can still talk about your company in a positive light. Don’t contradict your customer, but highlight the positive aspects they might have missed. You should always make a customer feel heard, but it’s important to reinforce the positive aspects of your company and how you can help them.
You should always sound authentic and personal in your response to your customer. It’s important to be genuine and be concerned about your customer and what they’re going through. Each response to a complaint should sound like a personalized message rather than an automated response. When you’re sincere and personal in your response, it will improve the reputation of your company and ensure that you care about your customers.
Take it Offline
Although you should always be sure to respond to every negative review to receive, you should discourage any sort of online back and forth between you and the customer. Instead, encourage your customer to contact you offline. Provide them with an email, phone number, or form that will help them discuss their concerns and get results. When you take the conversation offline, not only will your customer feel cared about, but will also have a better chance of having their problem solved.
Learn From Your Mistakes
It is often said that for every one customer that complains online, there are 20 unsatisfied customers that do not speak up. Therefore, you should use a negative review as a learning opportunity. There are some specific cases in which a customer’s issue is unique, and others in which a customer could be misunderstanding a situation or overreacting. However, in many cases, a negative review can reveal a problem with your company, product, or service, about which you were unaware. In these cases, a negative review is a great way to learn from your mistakes and make adjustments.
Use Bad Reviews to Promote Your Business
There is a silver lining to even the most degrading reviews. Remember: Every negative review is a chance to improve your service - both for the reviewer and your future customers.
No matter how large or how small, the feedback you glean from your reviews should be shared throughout your business. Beyond making sure everyone’s on the same page to prevent future problems, it lets your entire team know that excellent customer experience is your highest priority — and given how quickly social networks can spread a negative customer experience — it definitely should be!
Bad reviews can help you be more competitive. At this point, you may be wondering, "how?” Well, they provide you with an opportunity to prove your critics wrong. More importantly, they remind you to stay competitive. By monitoring online reviews - yours and that of your competitors- you get an idea of where you are and how well your business is doing. You can also look at aggregated ratings and analyze the data to see how you can gain an edge over your rivals.
Encourage More Reviews
Managing the negative reviews is one part of the battle. In order to maintain your online reputation, you should encourage reviews from your satisfied customers in order to balance out the negative. Satisfied customers don't usually take time to review you online unless you make an effort to remind them. Make it as easy as possible for customers to review your business.
ImageWorks, LLC | CT Digital Marketing
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