It's been reported that 85% of consumers place online reviews on the same pedestal as personal recommendations. These numbers are incredible! Online reviews have replaced word-of-mouth and that has huge implications for businesses. Online reviews are both positive and negative. While you should revel in the compliments from your customers, it is equally important for you to learn how to handle the negative reviews that come your way.
How do you do that?
Respond, Repair, Repeat
Most businesses follow a habit of enthusiastically taking part in digital conversations when they receive positive reviews. However, they completely ignore the negative reviews. This is not a healthy business practice. When you receive a negative review, it is visible to the public. Instead of ignoring it, you should indulge in a conversation with the reviewer. Why? Because of two reasons. First of all,
responding to the review will let prospective customers know that you are part of the story.
Secondly, responding to the negative review opens up a conversation with a disgruntled client. You will be able to understand what made them leave a negative review and how you can serve them better. This will improve your service, help you understand customer expectations, and may even earn
you a positive review from the same client. You cannot erase a negative review, but you can repair it to turn it into a positive one.
Make Positive Reviews the Hero
When you receive a positive review, celebrate it. Of course, you should have a strong presence on the popular review sites because they receive more footfall. However, each site has different terms of service. This means that many of your positive reviews may get filtered out because of one reason or the other.
So, what should you do?
You can tackle this problem in two ways. One way is to load your website with all the positive reviews that you attract. Create multiple pages that feature just the reviews. Allow your customers to place reviews directly on your website. This way, you have more control over the reviews.
The second way is to create multiple websites where you can post reviews and experiences of your customers. Incentivize them for creating blog-type review articles on your website. Perhaps, you can set up prizes. Reward the customers whose blogs qualify for your websites. Of course, you are not competing with a Yelp or TripAdvisor. You are just going to target customers who want to read reviews about your business. You can show them how awesome you are with all the reviews, filtered and all.
Have a Doomsday Strategy
Negative reviews are used by competitors and other unsatisfied customers to make your business suffer. But, you have a few cards up your sleeve too. First of all, if it is a competitor trying to sabotage your business, then you have every right to directly contact the review site and report it. If the administrators are convinced, they will directly remove the negative review. Now, if it is a blackmailing
customer who is trying to get you to do something, then you can weigh the costs and choose the best strategy for your business. Of course, this isn't an ideal scenario, but sometimes you have to choose your battles in response to the public eye. The important takeaway is that you should always have a strategy in place to tackle the worst-case scenarios. Firefighting is always going to make things worse.
Conclusion: No matter how difficult it may be, taking the high road when negative reviews arrive is your best bet. You may lose the one disgruntled customer throughout the process, but the professionalism you respond with will not go unnoticed by future customers.
Want to avoid negative reviews before they even hit the internet?