The Best Way To Deal With Negative Reviews

How to Deal With Negative Reviews

Many companies and business owners fear to respond to negative reviews because it is a digital confrontation – opening a can of worms that will lead into the rabbit hole. Bad reviews should not cause anxiety but should be a moment of opportunity to improve your brand and customer service. So, how should you respond to them?

Reviews left online can either boost your business or lead to your eventual downfall. Increasing your online rating by one-star has been shown to boost your business by up to 10%, whereas one really bad negative review can cost your business tens of thousands of dollars. (See our blog about Fake Reviews Killing Small Businesses).

Negative reviews are crucial, which is why you have to know how to use them to your advantage.

But before you go shelling out extra cash for someone to handle your online presence for you, remember the golden rule of business.

“The customer is always right.”

You should approach reviews with the goal of giving the best possible customer experience even when they’re angry. It keeps reviews from becoming the bane of your existence and shows how dedicated you are to delivering a consistent level of excellence.

1. First assess and evaluate the feedback internally.

Consult With Your Team

– Have a logical procedure in place before clicking reply –

You’re better off assessing the situation instead of immediately responding to a bad review. Customers have a lot of power online, and if you react to a negative review without thinking it through, you will fuel your angry customer.

Geoff Toff says that “if they’re angry enough (however unfairly) and care enough about getting the reaction they want from you (however petty that might be), they can spread negativity all over your reputation online, and people will probably believe it until they see a reason to think otherwise.” Do not get emotional when it’s your turn to respond to a bad review — have a logical procedure in place before clicking “reply”.

2. Publicly respond to the review.

Publicly reply to your negative reviews.

This means, don’t hide and privately reach out to your customer, but respond to them on the platform that they posted the review (privately responding alongside a public response is good as well). Whether they left you a bad review on Google, Facebook or TripAdvisor, do not avoid digital confrontation. Responding publicly to bad reviews shows your customers and potential customers that you care and are attentive.

Why should you care that you’re attentive? – Because it can lead to increased business.

A study done by Cornell University revealed that responding to negative hotel reviews “appears positively related to the consumer’s view of the hotel, as measured by increases in the TripAdvisor score”.

3. Empathise and offer solutions.

Offer a Solution to Customer Complaint

You’re human just like anyone else, which means sometimes you’re going to mess up.

And unfortunately, missteps, mistakes, or mess-ups can lead to negative reviews.

If you just spent your time writing a fluffy response back to the customer apologising for their experience and you’ve really taken the time to not be impulsive, but did not provide some solution or actionable items to mitigate the issue, then you haven’t properly responded to a negative review. Make sure to offer to make it right by providing a solution.

Whether it’s providing your contact information and following up with the customer offline, you should display empathy and effort into solving the complaint.

Responding to negative reviews lets customers see how you handle a less-than-ideal situation.

 Statistically, people will read the negative reviews first. If things go wrong, they want to know what to plan for. Show you’re capable of continuing to deliver excellence even when things aren’t perfect.

4. Fix the issue

Fix The Customer Issue

Once you’ve apologised to the customer, keep your word and fix the issue.

Putting actions behind your words online helps the customer trust your company more. They’ll feel you’re transparent in your solutions and general business accountability, which can only build positive things for your reputation.

Publicly showing that you will always fix something that’s gone wrong for your customers to will strengthen their trust in your company. Building trust cuts down on the need for them to post reviews in the first place because they know if they contact your business directly they’ll be heard, and their issue will be addressed.

5. Follow up with the customer

Always Follow Up With The Customer

On most reviews platforms like Google Business Reviews, customers can edit or remove their reviews.

If you’ve apologised and corrected the issue, reach out to the customer to see if they will remove their review. 

Asking the customer to take down a negative review can also be a great moment for a follow-up. By checking in with the customer, you’ll nudge them toward removing the review from your site, and they’ll feel cared for. They may give you further feedback or even change the review to a positive one.

When you leave a negative review, you expect an outcome. What you want to see is for the business to own their mistake and then correct the issue. If that happens, and you are happy with the outcome most likely, you will amend the negative review. So when it’s time for you to be on the other side of the review process, try to remember what it’s like to be a customer.

6. Conclusion

What Matters Most When Responding to Negative Feedback

Now, this isn’t going to be the case for everyone, but that’s okay.

What matters is you’ve demonstrated to the customer, and anyone else reading the reviews, that you’re apologetic and dedicated to resolving mistakes as quickly and professionally as possible. If you make one customer feel heard and valued in the review section, then other customers will trust you to do the same for them.

Going forward, potential customers will see your positive attitude and consider you trustworthy—even if they haven’t engaged with your business yet.

That’s the power of a customer review. And that’s why it’s crucial that you stay on top of them. By including the review process as an extension of the customer service experience, you’ll handle it like a pro, and your customers will keep coming back—in real life and online.

Online Reviews Are The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Small Businesses

Since its founding in 2014, Google My Business has become a major force in local commerce, with millions of people using it on various devices each month to post millions of business reviews.

Online Google Reviews – Best Thing For Small Businesses

Google My Business online reviews rise hasn’t come without controversy, with some arguing that it’s not fair to put small businesses’ reputations on display online.

The truth is, Google My Business didn’t create the Web 2.0 movement that enabled everyday internet users to create content and share it with the whole world. What Google My Business did do, however, is harness shifts in consumer behavior to create the best marketing channel of all time for local businesses. Today, Google My Business is joined by dozens of other popular consumer review sites as the first place shoppers go to find businesses nearby. As long as they’re governed correctly, these sites are a boon to small, local businesses.

If you run a small business today, the single most important thing you can do to attract new customers is to take control of your online review score on sites like Google My Business, Facebook, TripAdvisor, FourSquare and Yelp. More on that soon, but first, let’s take a quick look at how technology has transported the classic small business storefront onto the internet.

Shopping Online – Is the new trend

Mobile Is Driving Local

Even the busiest business owner must recognise that access to real-time information has exploded. Internet usage around the world has almost tripled since 2001 to nearly 350 million users, and smartphone penetration has risen from 20% in 2010 to 75% in 2019 among general consumers. Everyone has the internet in their pocket all the time, and this changes everything for small businesses.

This dramatic shift in technology adoption has led to similarly dramatic shifts in consumer behavior. About 90% of global sales still happen in physical stores, but 97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses and three in four people who use their smartphones to search for something nearby end up visiting a local business within a day. Foot traffic to retail businesses is down 60% in the past five years, but the value of every visit has tripled.

For small businesses, this means many digital stores have replaced the iconic physical storefront. Consumers are using the internet to figure out where they want to spend money locally before they go there, and their visits are increasingly prompted by real and urgent purchasing intent.

The days of window shopping and scanning the Yellow Pages are over.

Attract More Qualified Customers With Google Reviews

Online Review Sites Are A Customers Magnet

In the past, small businesses had to rely on inefficient “push” methods to attract new customers. If you buy a radio ad, for example, the message has to do two hard jobs: Convince the customer to spend money with you and create urgency to do it now, before distractions take over.

When a consumer uses a review platform like Google My Business, the decision and urgency to buy are exactly what prompted the person’s search. If traditional advertising is a megaphone that enables businesses to shout and see who’s listening, review sites are tractor beams that pull consumers toward local businesses precisely when they’re actively looking to spend money. That’s an invaluable opportunity for small businesses with small — or non-existent — marketing budgets.

Think about it. When you’re looking to try a new restaurant or find a mechanic, what do you do? You might get a recommendation from friends or family, but you probably also do a “near me” search on Google. This is the new normal: 97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses, and one in eight searches online for a nearby business every single day. Review sites are at the epicentre of “near me” searches.

Get More 5 Star Reviews From Your Customers – Use RapidReviews

Google Business Can Work For All Small Businesses

While there are certainly internet trolls out there, one of the great myths about online reviews is they’re all bad. In truth, more than half of all Google reviews are four or five stars, meaning most customers are logging on to rate their great experiences with local businesses.

That’s good news because 90% of customers say that what they decide to buy is influenced by positive online reviews, and 94% will use a business with at least four stars. If you run a small business, the very best thing you can do to attract more customers is to maintain a high star-rating on the most popular review sites like Google Business, Facebook etc.

Small businesses have more control of their online star ratings than they know. First, they can proactively encourage their customers to post reviews about their experience — 68% of customers will leave a review if asked. This activates the business’ happiest customers, buries any unfair negative reviews and ensures that the company’s “review ratio” is healthy.

Second, small businesses can turn negative reviews into a second chance. Everyone has a bad day, and business owners deserve to know when something’s wrong. In the past, dissatisfied customers might not even fill out a comment card — they’d badmouth the business via word of mouth, and the owner might never know anything was wrong.

Small businesses can use online reviews to uncover any legitimate blind spots and show acts of good faith for all the public to see. Engaging with dissatisfied customers in online review forums can lead to repeat business, and up to 70% of complaining customers will give the business another shot if their concerns are resolved.

If you run a small business, it’s time to embrace online review sites and use them to your advantage. Word of mouth happens online now, and small businesses finally get to add their voices to the conversation. Better yet, leaning into the world of online reviews might be the only marketing plan a small business needs these days.

How to get Google Reviews?

To get started with Google Reviews you will need to setup Google My Business. The reviews your business receives will be linked to the account you setup using the following steps. After you have setup your Google My Business using the instructions below you can visit our tutorial on How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing.

Step 1

Go to https://www.google.com/business

Step 2

Sign into your Google Account or create one.

Step 3

Enter your business’ address or claim an existing listing (if one already existed but you were not in control of it).

Step 4

Fill out all the information for your business.

Step 5

Submit your business for verification.

Step 6

Google will then send you a post card with a PIN to check you are in fact the owner of the business.