Online reviews are crucial to the success of your business. Reviews on Google or Yelp can boost sales in no time or damage your reputation forever.
Research suggests, only five good reviews on Yelp can increase your sales by up to 10%, while it may take just one negative review to cause thousands of dollars of damage. Reviews are so powerful because consumers rely heavily on them. For instance, 97% of consumers check online reviews before making a purchasing decision. While 72% of consumers consider online reviews as trustworthy as recommendations from their friends. This is why you should never ignore customer feedback.
Every business should seek to provide the best customer experience possible. However, even if you do your best to satisfy every customer, chances are some will be dissatisfied and leave negative reviews online. Therefore, get ready to handle them properly. Here are some useful tips that will help you along the way.
1. Respond as quickly as possible
There’s nothing worse than a negative review that hasn’t been acknowledged by a business, especially if the problem could be resolved easily. In this case, your company will look irresponsible, and your customers will think you don’t care.
Instead, respond to negative online reviews immediately. Explain what caused the problem and offer a feasible solution. For example, if a customer was unsatisfied with slow delivery, explain why the problem occurred (e.g., third-party shipping company delays), and ask the customer to contact you directly for a resolution if needed.
2. Respond with sincerity
Don’t lash out at customers who leave negative reviews. Even if it is not your fault, make sure to apologize for the situation politely. Ask the customer to contact you directly, outside of the review platform, to discuss the situation further and remind them there are real people behind the screen that care.
If you cannot contact a customer directly, respond to the review with sincerity. Mention your brand values and explain that ensuring the best customer experience possible is your main priority. Words are good, but the best way to apologize is to offer some type of recompense for the inconvenience (e.g., a gift card or discount).
3. Fix it
Problem-solving is key here. Figure out why the problem occurred and do your best to fix it. Don’t blame anyone. Instead, focus on resolving the issue and ensure it won’t happen again by fixing inadequacies and gaps in your systems and processes.
For instance, if a customer had problems with payment or was mistakenly charged an extra fee, offer a refund. If the problem happened and cannot be resolved, apologize, and offer a form compensation (hopefully, the recourse is outlined in your store/business policies or terms and conditions). When customers see you’re ready and willing to solve their problems, that instills trust. When people trust you, they are less likely to leave negative reviews and more likely to contact you directly if they need any help.
4. Ask customers to update or remove negative reviews
Once you’ve apologized and solved the problem, you still have to do something about the negative review. It’s still visible and damaging your reputation, even if it has been resolved and doesn’t need to be there anymore.
Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask your customers to remove and/or edit negative reviews to share how you responded promptly and fixed the issue. This way, a negative review can turn into a positive review.
When customers leave negative reviews, they expect a certain outcome. They want you to react and do something about their problem. If it happens, there’s no reason for them to keep their negative reviews on the internet. Follow up and use negative reviews to demonstrate your dedication and professionalism.
5. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews
Many review platforms have star-based ratings. Therefore, if you have a few 1-star reviews, they will reflect on your overall rating. So 4- and 5- star reviews can provide more balance. However, satisfied customers are less likely to leave reviews if they are completely happy with your products or services.
This is why you should offer something in return, encouraging them to leave positive reviews. For example, you can offer discount codes, gift cards, or exclusive offers from partner companies. In this case, your customers will have solid reasons to leave their 5-star reviews.
Show customers you care
If you think that negative reviews are dangerous, you’re right. However, if you think every negative review is a lost battle, there’s good news: you can always talk to customers, apologize for their experience, and solve their problems. Moreover, sometimes, you can turn negative reviews into positive ones to improve your company’s reputation. The main thing is to never ignore negative reviews. Show your customers you care about them.
Rhonda Martinez is an entrepreneur, professional writer, editor and reviewer at LegitWritingServices, a company that helps students improve their GPA and write better essays. Rhonda is passionate about writing on topics related to education, business and psychology.
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