Businesses in the digital age face a lot of different challenges. Not only does technology advance and improve faster than businesses can keep up—or afford to keep up—the world of online reviews and social media add another level of complexity that often leaves many businesses baffled and overwhelmed. In this blog, learn seven ways to turn negative customer reviews into a positive experience
Many businesses also don’t understand the potential impact that negative customer reviews can have on future purchases and word-of-mouth advertising that so many local small businesses rely on to grow.
In fact, research conducted by Bazaarvoice revealed that over 70% of prospects will change their perspective of a brand based on online reviews. The research also revealed that prospects who see a brand handle negative reviews with grace are 92% more likely to purchase than if the brand doesn’t respond at all.
Sometimes, negative customer reviews are unavoidable. The good news is that when managed properly, businesses can strategically turn negative reviews into happy customers. Here are seven ways to do exactly that.
How to Handle Negative Customer Reviews
Although one negative customer review might seem trivial, especially for a well-established business, the truth is that one bad review can do more damage to a company’s reputation than you might think.
For a local company, like a doctor, lawyer, a realtor, or a dentist, negative customer reviews can be devastating.
When business owners receive or notice a negative review online, most don’t know how to respond. Some simply ignore it and do not respond at all.
Although it’s easier to just blow it off (it’s only ONE review, right?), this can do more harm than good.
Instead of ignoring negative customer reviews, here are some simple things businesses can do to try to make amends (and even make some happy customers from it)!
1. Face It
The best way to deal with any negative online review is to treat it the same way you would if an angry customer charged into your store or office: Face it head on, and respond professionally and graciously.
2. A Response is Necessary
Again, don’t blow off any negative reviews—even if it is only one. Make it a point to respond, and do not ask an employee to do it for you.
If possible, the business owner or head manager should respond. This shows that the business genuinely cares about the customer and his or her feelings, and wants to go above and beyond to correct the issue and make things right.
3. Be Specific
When responding to negative customer reviews, be specific and unique in your responses. Never use the same generic response for more than one review. People want to know that you care about them specifically.
4. Be Timely
In addition to taking the time to respond and being specific in your response, you should also be timely. If you notice a negative review, respond to it ASAP. Don’t wait for days, weeks or even months to go by as this shows that your business doesn’t have prompt customer service.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to respond to any negative review within 24 hours.
5. Know Potential Customers Will Read It!
If you don’t think anyone will read negative reviews, think again. The majority of customers will review other customers’ reviews prior to making a purchase decision with your business.
So, be sure to take all negative customer reviews seriously. Taking the time to respond to unhappy or dissatisfied customers will show potential new customers that you tried to right a wrong or correct a mistake, and that you take pride in providing excellent customer service.
6. Offer a Helpful Solution
After apologizing in your response, try offering a helpful solution, such as a discount off their next purchase, sending a new or different product, or offering a gift card.
Offering any type of solution will show that you not only value your customers—even if they are unhappy—but that you made an honest effort to correct a mistake or issue and offer a solution that meets their needs.
If you're not sure where you can start, ask your employees. They may be closer to the customers and they'll have some ideas.
7. Take Responsibility
Finally, above all, take responsibility for your business’ actions. If you or a staff member made a mistake, own it. Treat your customers like you would a member of your family or a friend: Own up to your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions, and make a genuine effort to right a wrong.
**Bonus Tip/Warning About Customer Reviews
Do NOT leave a fake review countering the negative reviews. You might think you're being sneaky, but people can tell when the review is fake, and it'll make the situation worse.
Need Help Dealing with Negative Customer Reviews?
Leaving online negative reviews to sit there and ferment can have a detrimental impact on your business. Take negative customer reviews seriously.
If handled poorly, you're going to lose business. If handled well, they might reverse the review, and you can actually gain some customers from the experience.
Need help dealing with negative reviews? Received a negative review and aren’t sure of how to respond? GoSite offers a great review management tool to help businesses manage their online reputation in one platform.