Do you have a string of one-star reviews on your business page that are keeping you up at night? You have a good reason to worry. According to a BrightLocal survey, 85% of consumers trusted online reviews to the same degree as word of mouth recommendations from friends and family.
However, you don’t have to let bad reviews get you down if you know how to respond to them the right way.
Read on to learn all about tackling your bad reviews and even how to make them improve instead of harm your business!
1. Identify Your Negative Reviews
It’s important to first identify your negative reviews and where they’re coming from. This is especially important if you’ve noticed a string of negative reviews that came up recently. For instance, are these reviews coming from disgruntled customers who have already used your services?
The reviews could also be from people who haven’t purchased your products or used your services yet. Maybe they became frustrated with how hard your website is to navigate and gave up before they made a purchase. They could have even contacted customer service but weren’t happy with the level of service they received.
Try not to let your emotions get involved when you’re reading these negative reviews. Focus on these details instead:
- Who left the review
- When they left the review
- Main complaints
Document all your findings as you make these observations.
2. Apologize First
Now that you’ve read and analyzed your negative reviews, take some time to deal with any tough emotions that come up. You’re only human, and it’s normal to feel upset and blindsided by a negative review. However, you don’t want to let these negative emotions interfere with your response.
Next, apologize to your customer as soon as you can. If you’ve identified their main complaints, apologize for any mistakes or oversights you made. Thank them for helping you learn new ways to improve.
If this is a longstanding, loyal customer, consider sending them a more personalized apology such as a card or an email. However, once you’ve made your apology, you’ll also need to back up your words with action.
3. Fix the Issue
The next thing you need to do is to find a fix for your customer. By putting actions behind your words, you’re helping to rebuild trust with your current customer. Potential customers will also see the way you handle these issues and will be more likely to do business with you if they know how seriously you take customer complaints.
Sometimes it’s important to get the customer’s email or phone number in order to resolve their issue effectively, especially if it pertains to billing or a non-delivery of products or services.
Remember to ask the customer beforehand if your resolution to their problem is enough. Even if you can’t meet all their demands, it’s still important for you to try and meet them halfway. For instance, if they request a full refund but that’s something your business can’t do, see if you can supply them with a store credit.
4. Always Respond
Whether positive or negative, it’s important that you make it a point to respond to all reviews as part of your reputation management.
This looks better on Facebook, Yelp, and your Google Business page because it shows that your business is active and cares about customer feedback. It’s important that you respond to your positive reviews as well as your negative ones because it will foster a stronger relationship with your loyal customers.
Creating a policy of always responding also encourages your customers to leave more reviews.
If you have a string of bad reviews, the second-best way to combat them is to balance them out with some positive ones. However, the only way to do this is to encourage current clients to leave them.
Clients are far more likely to leave positive reviews if they know your business reads and appreciates the time it took to write them!
Once you’ve apologized to the angry customer and provided them with a suitable solution that fixes the initial issue they had, remember to follow-up with them. This is the best and only way to actually change those negative reviews to positive ones. Either on the phone or through email, politely request them either to remove their negative review or to update it.
Remember that you shouldn’t solicit them to leave a five-star review. Simply ask them for their new, unbiased opinion now that their issue has been resolved.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all customers will get back to you or be willing to change their reviews, and this is okay. Reply to the negative review with the steps you took to resolve the issue. Potential customers will see the negative review along with your response to it.
Turning Bad Reviews Into Effective Marketing
As you can see, bad reviews aren’t the end of the world for your company. In fact, if you’ve been in business for a number of years, a few bad reviews from customers are typically expected.
Although it’s important that you try and avoid these bad reviews as much as you can, the way you respond to them makes a huge difference. By responding to them promptly and courteously with an apology along with identifying what you can do to make the customer’s experience better, you’ll be contributing to your business’s image in a positive way.
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