No matter the size of your company, customer reviews are an inescapable reality of business in 2017. With wide-reaching review websites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Google Reviews, the average customer has the power to have their complaints heard throughout the world. Whether you’re Apple or a local bakery, it’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time. With the proper steps, a bad review can be turned into an opportunity to show how much your company cares about customer service.
Why Customers Leave Negative Reviews
A certain percentage of the population may have a chip on their shoulder for whatever reason, or one of your employees may have made a mistake. A fact of living in the internet age is that a lot of customers understand the power of their review. They know that a snarky Yelp review may turn thousands of dollars in business to your competitor. The best answer for entrepreneurs is to accept that customer reviews are out there for the world to see, and to take the right steps in mitigating their damage.
What Should You Do When Receiving A Negative Review?
Noticing a negative review about your company can inspire a wide range of thoughts and emotions. Depending on the review, your first inclination may be to find out whether an employee is at fault. Others may immediately focus on the review itself, brainstorming the options of how to repair their reputation. Luckily, if you’ve received negative online reviews, you aren’t alone. These steps will help you recover from a bad online review, and retain your reputation in the process.
1. Join The Conversation
In most cases, bad reviews are not going away on their own. This is why it’s important to read the review, and ensure that your company responds with honest concern. It’s also critical to keep your cool and respond in a tactful manner. Joining the conversation in this way accomplishes two key things:
Reaching out to the angry customer
First, the person who wrote the negative review now sees that you care about their experience. Ideally, this will lead to their retracting of the review, or at least a favorable response. Even if nothing happens, you’ve made an obvious statement that no customer is going to be upset with your company without your genuine concern for what happened.
Let them know you care about customer service
The second benefit of trying to make the situation right with the angry customer is that a certain amount of other people are going to witness the conversation. This number may be dozens or thousands, but all of those who read the review should be seen as potential customers. Leaving a professional response that shows you care about helping customers can make an impact on all who view it, and can even result in an improved reputation in the long run.
2. Inspire Customers To Leave Reviews
One way to lessen the impact of negative reviews is to encourage an increase in positive reviews. To inspire customers to leave positive reviews, getting creative helps. While you’d never want to purchase online reviews, there are tips for strongly encouraging positive reviews from customers.
Offer Small Incentives For Writing Reviews
Forbes magazine explains that there is benefit in incentivizing reviews from customers, so long as the reward is delivered discreetly. The fault in outright offering prizes for 5-star reviews is that your reviews will lose all credibility. Instead, consider holding a raffle contest where you’ll choose a winner out of the many reviews left by customers.
Another popular method is to offer a discount for customers who prove that they left a review. Even a modest discount can be enough of an incentive to increase your online reputation. Whichever method you choose for incentivizing reviews from your customers, the result is that negative reviews will look miniscule in comparison.
Make It Easy For Customers To Leave Reviews
When sitting down at a computer, your customers are likely to have dozens of tasks in mind, and they probably don’t include going to your company website to leave reviews. To increase the odds of customers thinking of you during their limited internet time, consider making the process as easy for them as possible.
You can make it easy for customers to leave reviews by including a link on your business cards, along with all of the social media accounts associated with your company. Some companies take further action by leaving step-by-step instructions on a pamphlet or 1-page printout. However you decide to encourage positive reviews from customers, remember that making the process as easy as possible will inspire more people to leave feedback.
3. Contact The Review Site
Contacting the website where you received the negative review will not produce guaranteed results. Since websites like Yelp allow people to post positive and negative reviews about any business, you’ll have to have a strong case to get them to change a review.
Assuming that your company is not at fault and the reviewer shows signs of being a nuisance, it may be worth it to contact the review site itself. The more evidence you have to prove your argument, the better chance you’ll have of getting the website hosts to act in your favor.
4. Give The Reviewer What They Want
Sometimes the decision that makes the most business sense is not the decision you like. While it will depend on the case, there are often times when giving the person who wrote the negative review exactly what they want will cause them to retract their posts. If you can offer them some small product or service, it may be worthwhile if they agree to rescind their negative reviews. If it’s less expensive and time consuming in the long run, appeasing an angry customer is sometimes the best solution.
5. Build A Wide Social Media Presence
If your company is represented on one social media site and receives bad reviews on it, it can seem devastating. But if your business is rated on a dozen sites and most of them are positive, then it’s better poised to handle a negative review. That’s why growing your online presence is almost as vital as growing your actual business. The more sites your company is seen on, the more potential for customers, and the less negative reviews will affect your reputation.
Take Action When Receiving A Negative Review
No company is immune to negative feedback from customers, but how you handle it can determine the fate of your online reputation. The worst response you can have is none at all, so at the first sign of a terrible review, it’s critical to take action. By joining in on the conversation and showing that you’re in control, you can turn an angry customer review into an advantageous boost for your company.
Call Now Media Group For Digital Marketing Solutions
In 2017, entrepreneurs that know how to optimize their online presence are the ones who will get ahead. This is more than simply having a website. At Now Media Group, we help hundreds of professionals achieve peak popularity for their social media and online presence. Whether you need a new website, blogs that attract customers or you’re interested in a free SEO audit, the experienced pros at Now Media Group can help. Contact us today to explore what we can do for your company.