Negative reviews are inevitable — it’s how you respond that counts.
All of us strive to make our clients happy, but the reality is, mistakes are unavoidable and you can’t please everyone. A shipment gone wrong, an uncontrolled technical error or a late customer notice can damage a brand’s credibility. Consequently, negative reviews can appear anywhere and stain your company’s reputation.
Studies show that 72 percent of customers rely on online reviews when making purchasing decisions. This means that a negative review of your business or product can drive away a significant number of potential customers.
Understanding Why Customers Write Negative Reviews Online
Online platforms serve as a free avenue for customers to voice out their opinion and reach out to brands.
Now, you may have poured all your efforts into providing good customer service, but you still get negative feedback online. Before you lash out, let’s consider the following reasons customers post bad reviews:
To Take Revenge
“Revenge reviews” are false or exaggerated negative opinions posted by unhappy customers, dissatisfied former employees or business competitors. Fortunately, only 23 percent of customers say that they write negative reviews out of vengeance.
However, revenge reviews can still have a catastrophic impact on your business if you don’t have a dedicated team to manage your online reputation.
To Get a Response
Overall, 70 percent of customers who post negative Google reviews are hoping to receive attention and get a response to their concerns.
This is when the speed of your response time, the quality of the solution you provide and the way you respond become crucial factors in turning negative reviews into an opportunity to bounce back and put your brand in a good light.
To Influence Other People’s Buying Decisions
Ninety percent of customers write online reviews to help other people make better purchasing decisions. These people aim to inform or warn other consumers about the quality of your product or service.
Knowing why customers write negative reviews provides you with a chance to improve their experience, and hopefully, turn complainants into brand advocates.
Implications of Negative Social Media and Google Reviews
Before we dive into dealing with negative reviews, let’s clarify one thing: there’s a big difference between people who are reviewing your business because of negative brand experience and people who are simply attacking your business.
Fake negative reviews typically have a vicious review tone and non-specific criticism. Multiple positive reviews on your competitor’s site by the same person can also be a tell-tale sign that it is a fake negative review.
In this situation, it is natural to feel angry. But remember that responding when you’re feeling emotional may backfire. Here’s how you can deal with fake negative reviews online:
- Get defensive.
- Ignore it.
- Engage in an online battle.
- Beg for positive reviews.
- Report the fake review.
- Request the removal of the fake or misleading review.
- Maintain a positive brand image.
- Share the problem with your followers.
Responding to Negative Online Reviews
Now, let’s talk about the more crucial aspect of your online reputation – your customer experience. In this Internet – and social media-driven era, online reviews are bound to drive customers towards or away from your business.
Ensure you offer a seamless user experience to anyone interacting with your brand, and make customer satisfaction a top priority.
Here’s some advice on how to address negative Google reviews effectively:
Respond ASAP. The online world operates 24/7, so people expect a quick response to their concerns. In fact, research shows that 42 percent of consumers expect a customer service response within 60 minutes.
Poor response time prompts people to spread negative information about your business to their peers, or switch to other brands and post more complaints on social media. Keep your customers happy and boost your sales by paying attention to your social media response time.
Acknowledge the issue and apologize. If your company made a mistake, it’s only reasonable to acknowledge your customers’ dissatisfaction and apologize for it. Reach out to your customer and request an opportunity to contact them.
Keep it private. The key is to know which negative Google reviews should be resolved in public and private. Moving the conversion offline allows the customer to provide further feedback and discuss their sentiments. At the same time, it gives you the chance to clear the air and provide a better, more personalized response to their grievances.
Be polite and professional. Maintain a positive brand image by responding in a courteous and professional manner. Tell the customer that you will implement the necessary measures to resolve the issue and provide them with a better customer experience.
Be authentic and personal. Negative reviews give you an opportunity to show your customers the core values of your business.
When responding to negative customer feedback, don’t just use computer-generated responses. Take time to understand their disappointment and let them know you’re paying attention.
Recovering from Negative Reviews
As a business owner, you need to recover from setbacks fast. In order to deal with negative reviews effectively, you must accept that your business does have some shortcomings that you need to address as soon as possible to gain both online and offline success.
Lastly, don’t sulk over the negative feedback you’re getting. Be sure to implement the right SEO and digital marketing strategies to rebuild your online reputation.
Follow these steps to help you power through the negative reviews online:
- Focus on solutions. Identify which areas of your business are driving negative feedback online and create a solid strategy to address these issues.
- Monitor your social media and search engine reviews. Research shows that 12 percent of consumers post to forums, 10 percent to review sites and 2 percent on blogs. Aside from monitoring your social media pages, you need to keep track of the broader online platforms as well.
An interesting finding shows that customers go to Google+ Local reviews and Amazon to look for online reviews about a brand or product. Interestingly, more people turn to Wikipedia than Yelp or TripAdvisor to acquire information about a business.
- Claim your pages. It is vital that you claim your business listing on Google, Yelp and other review sites, data aggregators and local search services. This will help you ensure you provide correct and consistent information about your business across all digital platforms.
- Leverage social media and other online platforms as customer support channels. You need to be seen where the majority of your customers are, and that’s online.
Encourage a two-way conversation between your brand and your target market to boost brand awareness and determine customer expectations. Social media is a powerful platform that can help you connect with 67 percent of consumers who utilize social media sites for servicing interactions.
- Encourage your valued customers to write online reviews. Instead of trying to remove all negative reviews about your business, spend your time and resources on getting more positive reviews. After all, every positive review takes the sting out of a negative one.
- Build a robust online reputation. Respond to all your customers’ feedback, comments and questions as much as possible. Every post, mention, and review about your brand on online platforms need acknowledgment to make your customers feel valued.
- Implement a powerful digital marketing campaign. Integrating search engine optimization and social media management to your reputation management efforts is an excellent way to generate positive press and reviews.
By managing the search results of your business, you are taking control of the primary information that online users first see when they search for your business online.
- Hire a reputation manager. An effective reputation manager can help you create a favorable brand image and maintain a healthy online presence. Your online reputation manager will be in charge of your social media accounts and online engagement.
Turn Your Negative Online Reviews into Marketing Wins
Reading negative reviews about your business can feel like a punch to the gut. But, fret not. You can turn critical reviews into good reviews with the right online reputation management solution.
Not sure how to handle bad reviews? We are here to help. Contact Rize Reviews today to build a strong base of positive reviews for your business.