Reviews have quickly become integral to doing business online. Consumers expect to see reviews, and their buying decisions can be shaped by what they find. BrightLocal found that 57% of consumers search for businesses with a four-star rating or higher.
Negative reviews will be a reality for any successful company, so there needs to be a strategy for dealing with them. The following approaches aim to reduce the impact of negative reviews, with the potential of changing the overall perception for the better.
Understand Why You Received a Bad Review
The first stage is to try to understand why a customer left a bad review. The review itself might give details that thoroughly explain an issue. You may, though, have to dig deeper, looking into some surrounding factors. Checking the date might reveal a problem that occurred on that particular day. There may also be a hint that helps the investigation, such as a reference to customer service or slow service. Finally, many review sites offer the facility to contact the reviewer directly.
Try to Deal with the Issue Privately
If you can contact the reviewer, it can be best to do it privately. Having a thread of comments between two parties might not look good for your business, especially if the reviewer remains unhappy. Contacting the person via direct message can avoid further bad publicity, allowing you to post a comment when the issue gets firmly resolved. You may not be able to fix the problem, but reaching out can make a big difference to a customer.
Look to Get Unfair Comments Removed
Trying to get negative reviews removed is usually a bad idea. There may be times, though, where this action is appropriate. If the comment is wholly unfair and malicious, the review site might be willing to act. There usually needs to be statements in the review that can be proven to be false, so only focus on defamatory reviews.
Accept the Benefit of Negative Reviews
Nobody wants to get a bad review, but an occasional negative response can be beneficial. If you only have positive feedback, people may be wary and assume you are paying for reviews. A positive response with the occasional unhappy customer makes sense to anyone looking for honest feedback. Additionally, you can learn about your business and get better when you have honest reviews that bring up valid points.
Discuss Bad Reviews with Your Team
Bad reviews could be demotivating when you are working hard to provide an excellent service. Instead, though, they should be viewed alongside the positive responses to give you a balanced analysis. It can be worth discussing negative feedback with your team, looking for ways to do better. Even if some issues can never be completely overcome, the discussion can lead to valuable insights that improve your business.
Work on Getting More Positive Reviews
Negative reviews only really stand out when there is a lack of positive responses. If you have a host of positive reviews, negative reviews won't get much attention. Most customers will need to be prompted to leave feedback, though, so it should become part of the sales process. If you deal with clients directly, asking for a review won't be too difficult. For example, an e-commerce store could send an email after purchase with a link to the review page. Creating a system for gaining reviews will let you stand out from businesses that get little feedback.
Your Takeaway Notes
Even the best products and services will eventually face poor feedback. It is impossible to please everyone, with some reviewers having inflated expectations for a product or service. Negative reviews can have a tangible impact on the fortune of a business, so they need to be taken seriously. When dealing with negative reviews your three main goals should be:
- Reduce the number of bad reviews.
- Respond to negative feedback.
- Resolve any issues.
You may not be able to please every customer, but taking a proactive approach to your reviews will help to boost your reputation and create more happy customers.