Online negative reviews happen, and while they can feel like the end of the world, they shouldn’t. A negative review here and there affords you a greater perspective about how your business is doing out there and helps you appreciate those five-star reviews that much more. If the thought of negative reviews stops you in your tracks, never fear – there is a straightforward to-do list that can help you slay this dragon and make your negative reviews work for you. The most important point to keep in mind is that sweeping those not-nice reviews under the rug is not going to do you any favors and that the time for action is now.
When a review is especially acerbic and/or feels personal, it’s hard not to go directly to 100, but hitting pause is your best friend on this one. Remember that the person who left the review was moved to the point of taking time out to write it in the first place, which means that his or her experience must have been – at best – other than what he or she was expecting. That’s a good place to start. The truth of the matter is that the services or products you offer are not for everyone, and a negative response may simply highlight this fact. Your response should come from a place of understanding the reviewer’s frustration and from a place of authentic regret (while keeping any sarcasm at bay). If you can strike this note while letting the reviewer know that you’re on a journey toward improvement (and that you appreciate his or her input), you’re golden.
Checking It Twice
While you may think that your response has struck exactly the right tone, it’s important to remember that electronic communications can go fantastically awry. Have someone you trust – and who knows the ropes – give your response a read before you hit send.
One thing you absolutely should not do is fail to respond to a negative review. How you respond to bad reviews has the potential to boost your conversion rates, which makes ignoring bad reviews a lost opportunity. Any business can shine when the stars align; it’s when the chips are down that your responses garner heightened attention (and scrutiny). Word of mouth remains the single most influential marketing tool, and sometimes, your customers just want to feel heard, which makes responding to negative reviews paramount. And if you can resolve the issue with your initial response, all the better.
Know Whom You’re Dealing With
While every reviewer is utterly unique, they generally fall into one of three categories that can give you a better idea about how best to proceed. Consider the following:
- The Newbie – If it’s the reviewer’s first foray into leaving a review, it means that he or she was moved to the point of responding. Treating first-time reviewers with kid gloves is the best approach. If you can resolve the issue, do so, and if you respectfully disagree with the reviewer’s take on the matter, find a respectful way to let him or her know why.
- The Expert – If you receive a concise review from someone who obviously knows what he or she is talking about, it’s time to respond accordingly. Make sure that your response cuts to the chase, and let the reviewer know that you’re ready to do what it takes to resolve the issue.
- Whiners – Some people like to complain (or make it their habit to complain), and they will likely account for the bulk of the negative reviews you receive. Serial complainers are good at what they do, and they have the power to hurt your business. Further, just because someone likes to complain doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t have a valid complaint. Respond accordingly.
While you can’t be all things to all customers, you can be respectful and proactive, and that’s half the battle.
Wrap It Up with a Bow
The bottom line with negative reviews is that if it is within the realm of the reasonable to resolve the issue, it’s very likely in your best interest to do so. In addition to an online response, contacting the reviewer personally and endeavoring to resolve the issue is a nice touch. By resolving one customer’s concern or complaint, you show all of your customers (and potential customers) that you care and are ready to go the extra mile.
Do Yourself a Favor
A negative review – regardless of its validity – is permanent. It’s out there, and it means that the ball is in your court. If you fail to make the next move, the negative review continues to hang there like a stain on your business (not to mention a lost opportunity). Negative reviews can afford you insight into tweaking your business, and they are a perfect setup for showing all those potential customers out there that your business is customer-driven. A well-written response to a negative review, in other words, can do your business a world of good.
While coaxing customers into filling out surveys and providing you with raw data about your products and/or services is a challenge, negative reviews hit you with the information you’re looking for right up-front. Take the information provided seriously; let the reviewer know that you’re ready to address the matter head-on, and invite him or her to get back to you privately (in your online response). This approach ticks all the boxes – it provides you with valuable feedback about your business; it personally addresses the issue conjured by the disgruntled reviewer, and it shows anyone who cares to look that you take customer service seriously.
Accentuate the Positive by Reaching out to a Digital Marketing Professional Today
Negative reviews happen to good businesses, but The Web Guys have got you covered! When you have a bad-review strategy in place, those particularly nasty reviews will no longer terrify (and/or enrage) you. Tackling nasty reviews head-on can offer inroads into marketing strategy, and that’s a good thing. For help managing reviews or with anything else related to digital marketing, contact us at (317) 805-4933 today.