The internet has opened up a whole new world for businesses, enabling them to expand their reach and visibility like never before. When you consider online content marketing, social media organic marketing, Facebook Ads, or any other forms of digital marketing, your business can thrive like never before when you cleverly harness the power of the internet.
On the flip-side of this, however, is the fact that sharing reviews is so much more public online, thanks to onsite and on-profile rating and review features. When the reviews are great, this is fantastic for your business. When they are negative, however – not so much. And with the ability for internet users to hide behind their keyboards, rather than making a complaint privately and in person, it’s far easier to leave a public, negative review online – whether it is truly warranted or not.
Managing Negative Reviews
It’s an unfortunate fact and human nature that many consumers are far more motivated to leave a negative review than to make the same effort when there is something positive to share about a business. Negative reviews, sadly, come with the territory. They may not even be directly related to the quality of your service or product (some people just like to complain). They may be somewhat warranted – but they may also be, at times, entirely unfair.
As a business owner, what matters most is how you respond to negative reviews.
The Power of a Review
Did you know?*
- 84% of consumers trust online reviews
- 63% of consumers conduct online searches to source reviews for brands or products they are interested in.
- 54% of consumers visit a business website after reading positive reviews.
- 87% of consumers only use businesses with a rating of 3-5 stars.
- 73% of consumers consider reviews older than three months are irrelevant.
- 70% of consumers will leave a review if requested to do so.
- When consumers have read reviews prior, 78% of them are happy with their final purchase.
While 68% of consumers trust reviews more when there is a mix of both positive and negative reviews and ratings, a single negative review can cost your business as many as thirty customers.
Why Do I Need to Respond at All?
Just a single negative review can be damaging to your business, even if you have many very positive reviews. It can alter the perception consumers have when it comes to your business and the service you provide.
What makes the difference between having a negative review harm your business or actually ultimately reflect positively in your favour is how you address the situation.
- You MUST acknowledge the issue as it arises, promptly and calmly. Ignoring a negative review can make the problem worse and reflect very badly on your business.
- Reviews are in the public domain. As such, your response to a review is not simply for the benefit of the reviewer; it is for every single consumer who reads the review as well. Responding well to the review is a golden opportunity to rectify the situation and turn the public perception of your business around.
- Responding also demonstrates your care and ownership towards your business and your customers, and your ongoing commitment to doing better for them in the future.
Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews
- Manage negative reviews promptly and calmly. Never lay blame or argue.
- First and foremost, authentically apologise and empathise with the reviewer – even if you are certain that their criticism is unwarranted. Simply state something along the lines of “we are very sorry you have had this experience”.
- Express regret that, in this instance, your product or service has not lived up to the customer’s expectations.
- Suggest that in order to rectify the situation quickly and to the reviewer’s satisfaction, you correspond directly and privately and provide contact information with a specific person in your company in order to do so.
- Deal with the matter privately from here on and take suitable steps to rectify the issue.
- Be Very Careful! Make sure not to include your business name or your focus SEO keywords in your correspondence – this helps ensure that the negative review does not get more public traction by appearing in search results.
Negative Reviews are not ALL Bad!
A transparent, authentic business will encourage patrons, clients, and customers to leave a review. Reviews that are authentic build trust in a business – and some, albeit rare, negative reviews actually lend authenticity to the overall review pool.
When you respond well to a negative review and work effectively to solve the issue, it can ultimately work in your favour. Some unhappy customers, when they have been listened to, heard, understood, and are satisfied with the outcome, will revise their original review in your favour.
It’s important to generally not remove bad reviews – however, there are some instances where reviews are in violation of platform guidelines and are undeservedly malign in nature. These may be removed – your digital marketing agency can help with this and advise if it is appropriate.
Succeed with Sparx!
Are you struggling with getting or managing reviews from customers? Chat to our team today to find out how we can help.