It is hard enough to build a new business with good reviews and positive feedback. Just the regular daily activity of running a business has its challenges. And then there are the negative reviews that can throw you off your game. Don’t let it get to you and don’t simply blow off bad reviews. Instead, use them as an opportunity to showcase what is right about your business.
First and foremost, resist all temptation to fight fire with fire. It will not work. It will make you appear angry and unprofessional, and if could cost your business potential customers who see the battle with the negative reviewers. Instead, turn that frown upside down through positive interaction with unhappy customers.
Respond to complaints right away.
If you ignore poor reviews you do so at your own peril. Instead, take that negative and turn it into a positive. Let the reviewer know you are aware of their issue and tell them how you will respond effectively to it. Let’s say the complaint is that the hotline is unresponsive. You don’t understand why that is happening. What should you do?
- Take a moment to step back and examine the issue: Unresponsive hotline
- Review operations to see what is happening: Perhaps not enough phones to receive calls or operators don’t have sufficient information to help callers.
- Rectify the issue as quickly as possible: Add lines, improve information for operators.
- Write to the reviewer:
- Acknowledge the complaint is valid
- Inform of action taken to fix it
- Thank the reviewer for bringing it to your attention
- Ask them for future business and request a positive review
Manage social media interactions.
Online businesses today have a strong presence in social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Angie’s List. It is vitally important that you manage your presence on a regular basis. If at all possible, you should have someone who checks these sites for reviews, both positive and negative.
Respond to comments in a timely manner. Answer questions and respond graciously to positive comments. Ask your happy customers to write positive reviews on your various social media sites and your owned website as well. Happy customers seldom write reviews. However, if you ask them to help you they are usually delighted to do so.
The hard part is doing the same to negative comments and reviews. You should be professional at all times, avoiding counter-attacks against the reviewer or commentator (or troll). Combatting bad reviews is hard but worthwhile. The main thing is to respond to attacks with positive energy rather than negative.
Why do negative reviews matter?
The internet has become the “go-to” for information. People who research online tend to go to reviews for information about companies they are interested in rather than paid media or business websites that they expect to always provide a positive spin. They go to reviews to learn from actual customers how satisfied they are with the business’ product and services. Unfortunately, most reviews are written by disgruntled customers.
According to a study performed by Neilson, 92% of global online consumers trust what they call “earned media”, which includes recommendations from people they trust. If they cannot get a quality recommendation from friends and family, 70% of consumers report they will then go to online reviews from customers. Since happy customers seldom write reviews, negative reviews have more power than perhaps they should. Therefore, it behooves businesses to recognize, respect and respond positively to negative reviews to counter their effect on their success. Turn those negative reviews in to positive opportunities.