Negative reviews do exist. It’s how you manage them that counts.
How to respond to negative criticism. These days, reviews are the lifeblood of business. Indeed, whether you’re shopping online or looking for a local business, a large part of the search involves reading reviews. Generating reviews is an important part of online reputation management for every small business, and it’s important to realize that not all reviews will be positive.
Even if you provide first-rate service all the time, you can’t expect to please everyone. Negative reviews are a fact of online life, but they’re not necessarily a bad thing.
Negative reviews can actually give you more credibility in the eyes of your customers, and if you respond to them in the right way, they give you the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to customer service.
Believe it or not, having one or two negative reviews can even improve your conversion rate.
When you reply to reviews, you’re not just responding to the reviewer.
You have a lot of customers, and if one of them isn’t necessarily thrilled, there’s no reason to bend over backwards to win them back, is there? This may be true when you’re dealing with a customer complaint face-to-face (although it should be noted that customers do talk), but it’s important to realize that online reviews – and your responses to them – are very public.
Reviews aren’t just feedback about your company, they’re essential public marketing tools. And the same goes for your responses to these notices.
By responding to negative reviews in the right way, you can turn around a bad experience and win a customer for life. What’s more, anyone reading your exchange will have first-hand knowledge of what you’re willing to do to correct your mistakes or win back your customers.
Be careful how you respond to comments.
Here are a few tips for responding to negative reviews in the right way:
- Acknowledge the problem and the feelings of the reviewer, and empathize with him or her, even if you don’t necessarily feel you’re wrong.
- Always mention the customer’s name. This will make your answer more personal.
- Without making excuses or laying blame, tell your side of the story, clarifying everything that may have contributed to the problem, especially if something was beyond your control.
- Correct the situation by making a serious offer, such as a future discount or a chance to have the service redone.
- Invite the examiner to contact you personally to discuss the matter further. This way, you can avoid getting into a public argument online.
- Build a solid online reputation.
While the occasional negative review isn’t necessarily bad for your online reputation, there is a downside.
It all depends on how many notices you have. If you have over 200 reviews with a solid average rating of 4.5 stars, you’re doing very well, and a negative review won’t hurt you. On the other hand, if you only have four reviews and a one-star review takes you from an average of 3.5 stars to an average of 2 stars, that’s going to hurt a lot more.
That’s why it’s so important to generate reviews to build a solid online reputation. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Just ask everyone!
The advantage of systematically asking your customers for reviews is that, as long as you provide a quality service, you can be sure that the majority of your reviews will be positive.