Dealing with Negativity – What To Do About Bad Reviews
Consumer reviews can be incredibly valuable to a business as they can help build trust and loyalty with your brand, increase organic search rankings, and influence buying decisions. But what do you do when you get those one or two star reviews? As a mobile app developer and web developer, we preach regularly about the value of good reviews and why you should do your best to increase the number of reviews you have. Today we will look at the other side of the coin; dealing with negativity and what to do about bad reviews.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you have as everything from apps to businesses that sell products or those that sell services utilize customer reviews or can be rated by third-party review sites. Since bad reviews are bound to happen, you should do something about them, right?
Looking at the numbers
For most good businesses a low rating is not common. Many businesses are lucky to have a solid 4-star rating or more with only 10-20% of ratings falling in the 1-star or 2-star category. Obviously you can’t please everyone, right?
While that is true, at the same time research tells us that it is much more cost effective to keep existing clients rather than writing them off an just acquiring a replacement. In fact, current statistics show that it can cost a business 20 times more to acquire a new customer versus keeping that existing relationship in place.
Many times a negative review is completely warranted. Let’s be honest, your business cannot function at 100% efficiency and provide 100% customer satisfaction at all times. On the flip side, customers themselves can have a bad day as well which can affect how they viewed an interaction.
That is why what you do after getting a bad review is so important.
Turning lemons into lemonade
As a business it can be very difficult to deal with criticism. The internet is a well known place where people feel confident enough to fully express themselves and then some. Often people end up going much further than they would in person as they voice a complaint and then feel the need to provide additional judgments and information to support their opinion of an interaction.
Many of us have seen these types of reviews where someone was upset by waiting, the level of service they received, or the rudeness of an employee. All of these are things a customer should be upset by. But then the review often adds emotion, judgment and criticism to the mix which ends up being more of a personal attack. Many times this then triggers a defensive response rather than a constructive one which not only alienates this customer, but also can affect other customers or potential customers who read the review.
Rather than travelling down that road, it is much wiser as a business owner to look at any negative review as a chance to turn lemons into lemonade. Even if you can’t fully repair the existing relationship, your actions can still have a positive effect on future customers or at the very least, not have a negative one.
Tips for dealing with bad reviews
• Always be professional – No matter who is responding to criticism, remember that you are representing a business and brand therefore your tone should remain businesslike and professional. Take the emotion out of it and focus on what went wrong, the customer’s needs and how you can repair the relationship.
• Speak to the point – When you are responding to someone, don’t write a book. Instead focus on apologizing for what went wrong, without tossing out excessive excuses or explanations that most customers do not care about.
• Provide action steps – This means explain to the customer, and anyone who is reading the review, what you are doing or have done to correct this issue so it won’t happen to a future customer.
• Offer a carrot – It always helps to offer something to make up for the bad experience. Some people seem to think this could lead to more low ratings in an attempt for a free hand-out, but experience has shown this does not happen often. Perhaps you directly message them after responding with a discount offer, two-for-one sale, or something else to entice them to return and spend more with you.
• Ask what else can you do – People like to feel important and one way you can do that is to ask their opinion on anything else you might be able to do to improve as a business. This can affect their attitude and perhaps lead to a revised review if they truly feel like you do care and their issue was singular.
The bottom line is that bad reviews can affect your brand and its’ reputation. Dealing with negativity and what to do about bad reviews is all about taking a negative and doing your best to turn it into a positive in a professional manner. At the end of the day it is about making customers happy and keeping them coming back again and again, which is much cheaper than constantly trying to find new customers to replace ones you may have alienated.
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