Online ratings and reviews significantly impact customers’ buying decisions. In fact, nearly 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center).
Naturally, every company wants to get five star ratings. It’s a common belief that perfect ratings lead to more sales, while not-so-good reviews can hurt your bottom line. But realistically, this is not always the case.
According to a PowerReviews study, 82% of shoppers seek out negative reviews. Furthermore, product purchases are reported to be most influenced by feedback with an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5 (GetApp). These figures reveal that perfect five star ratings don’t always lead to desirable outcomes.
Why Are Consumers Skeptical of Five Star Ratings?
“People are jaded about reviews and testimonials that are online and hard to verify. Even the best companies will have some bad reviews. Nobody can satisfy 100% of customers, so I think a perfect five is a red flag, really,” said Tim Clarke, Rize Review’s Senior Reputation Manager.
Four-star ratings are more believable because consumers don’t expect brands to be perfect. Brands must be transparent about their flaws to earn people’s trust. They can prove that they have nothing to hide by displaying good and bad ratings and reviews.
If all your ratings are perfect, people might assume you’re filtering reviews and hiding negative ones. They might also think you’re offering incentives, so customers leave nothing less than five star ratings.
Ultimately, consumers want to know two things:
- Your response to a negative review.
- Whether the flaws in your product or service are one-time issues.
Getting the occasional bad review doesn’t mean your business is in trouble. Imperfect ratings and reviews are reported to drive more sales. Research shows that purchase likelihood begins to drop as the star rating approaches a perfect five.
The key to maintaining a 4.2 to 4.5 rating is to collect more 4- and 5-star reviews. There’s no guarantee that customers will give a five star rating each time, but having a mix of good and bad ratings and reviews provides a more accurate overview of your business.
BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2020 shows that 73% of consumers only focus on reviews written in the last month. So having a consistent stream of reviews and ratings is vital in converting leads into paying customers.
Online reviews are the modern word-of-mouth strategy. Seventy-two percent of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family (BrightLocal). Another study reveals that conversion rates increase by up to 58% when users interact with customer reviews.
How To Ask for Reviews the Right Way
Review generation is a critical step in maintaining your online reputation. Brands can generate reviews through email, feedback forms, SMS campaigns and online review sites.
If you’re wondering how to ask for reviews, these tips are for you:
Send a Personalized Request for Reviews After Transactions
Consider timing when sending out a request for reviews.
“It’s important to ask for reviews at the peak happiness point which is often right after the transaction or appointment,” Clarke said.
Reviews and ratings tend to be more accurate and detailed when written while the experience is still fresh.
Add a Review Widget to Your Website
Adding an interactive widget to your site is one way to get more reviews. A widget can embed review forms on your site, showcase customer testimonials and help build brand credibility.
Obtain Ratings From Your Email Signature
Include a hyperlink or linked image to your email signatures to get more reviews. Add a quick directive, such as “How did we do? Click to rate your experience.” The links may direct them to your preferred online review sites where they can provide more detailed feedback.
Launch Email and SMS Campaigns
A drip campaign is an automated series of messages sent to help you get more reviews and inspire customers to take action. Email and SMS drip campaigns allow you to send review requests to hundreds of customers within seconds.
Use Online Review Generation Software
Online reputation management companies such as Rize offer review generation software that lets you create a custom request for reviews with a clear call to action (CTA). All SMS and email campaigns will be scheduled based on your customers’ mobile activities and online behavior.
Companies that invest in online review generation tools can save time and energy reaching out to customers. Online review generation software can send a personalized request for reviews, perform multi-site tracking and provide in-depth reporting and analytics.
Take It Offline
Get the customer’s contact details and ask for the best way and time to communicate. Taking it offline allows you to talk about the issue in greater detail away from the unforgiving public eye.
“Offer a phone call or email instead of a public forum. This will show the angry customer and the whole public that the brand cares and wants to fix upset customer situations,” Clarke said.
This also lets you offer a resolution in private. Any incentives you use to lure the customer back won’t be advertised online.
Get Help From Reputation Management Consultants
In today’s digital world, one wrong move can reach thousands of people. A bad review can quickly go viral and tarnish your brand image.
Reputation management consultants help you craft rapid and effective responses to each customer review. They also help generate reviews, monitor ratings across platforms and help you establish a positive online footprint.
How To Respond to Negative Reviews
Bad reviews are inevitable, but they’re not the end of the world. What matters is what you do to turn the situation around.
Today’s consumers have more resources available to them than ever before. They base their buying decisions on various factors, including a brand’s online presence and other people’s feedback. Your response to a negative review is crucial in recovering unhappy customers and attracting new ones.
Below, we explore how to respond to negative reviews and offer techniques you can use to smooth things over.
Answer As Soon as Possible
Twenty percent of consumers expect a negative review response within a day (BrightLocal). Responding to negative reviews as quickly as possible shows that you prioritize your customers. If a negative customer review is ignored for too long, potential customers can lose trust in your brand and go to a competitor.
“Never argue; try to reply within 1-2 business days. Be calm, kind, helpful and professional,” Clarke said.
No matter which online review sites were used, ignoring bad reviews and ratings can fuel customers’ anger and disappointment. Treat every negative review as a chance to win back an unhappy customer.
Use Positive Language
When responding to negative reviews, avoid negative phrases like:
- “We don’t know”
- “That’s not our fault”
- “You’re mistaken”
- “We’ve never had this issue before”
- “That’s impossible”
Instead, use positive language to steer the conversation toward a more helpful and fulfilling direction. Carefully craft your responses with gratitude and sympathy. This will make customers feel their concerns are valid and heard.
Offering a personalized negative review response humanizes your brand and builds trust. It shows that you listen to your customers’ needs, value their opinions and care about their experience.
Here are sample responses to negative reviews:
- “Thank you for taking the time to leave us a rating. Your feedback helps us do better. We’re sorry you had a frustrating experience and would love to make it up to you.”
- “We appreciate your feedback and we apologize for your experience. Trust that we are looking into this issue.”
- “Hi, Carl. I hear you. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We’re truly sorry you had a bad experience and hope to earn your trust again.”
No matter how rude or groundless the review is, don’t let emotions fuel an already tense situation. “If the review is incorrect or a misunderstanding, state the facts but don’t be condescending or rude to the customer. Always try to de-escalate the situation,” Clarke said.
Offering incentives is a great way to turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one. You can send a gift or coupon, replace the damaged product or offer free shipping on their next purchase. In cases where clients do not want any vouchers or bonuses, it might be best to offer a refund.
Proactively Improve Your Ratings and Online Reputation With Rize Reviews
Modern consumers prefer authenticity over perfection. A 4-star rating that includes both good and bad feedback allows a potential customer to gain a more realistic view of the business. They also pay close attention to a company’s negative review response and the steps taken to resolve the issue.
The best way to counter negative reviews and inspire consumer confidence is to work with online reputation management companies with a seamless, holistic reputation management tool.
Rize Reviews offers businesses a reputation management tool designed to help monitor and generate reviews. From sending personalized feedback requests to responding to negative reviews, our team will streamline your review management process and boost customer satisfaction.
To learn more about our services, contact us at 866.325.0303. Our team can discuss strategies on how to respond to negative reviews and protect your brand image.