Did you know that 90% of consumers search and consider online reviews before making a purchasing decision?
In addition, products with positive reviews generally have twice as many sales as those without.
This is why handling negative reviews from customers the right way is important for your brand’s image and bottom line.
But what exactly can you do about these potentially harmful reviews? What should you do to make things right and counteract all of the side effects?
In this article, we’ll give you 5 tips to handle negative customer reviews in order to improve your brand image and grow your revenue.
Ready? Let’s go.
1. Understand How Review Sites Work
The first step in dealing with negative customer reviews is to understand how sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp work. Platforms like these typically don’t remove bad reviews unless they violate their guidelines or are clearly untrue. In most situations, the user who left the review is the one who can ultimately reverse or edit their opinion.
So even if you successfully deal with a negative review, the customer will need to perform a few extra actions which makes your job a little tricky.
That said, it’s worth keeping a few important links to hand so you can share them with your customers and make the process easier.
Make sure to save these links as you may need them upon successfully resolving a customer complaint (more on that later).
In some situations, you may want to submit a concern if you think a particular review is unjustified and violates the platform’s guidelines. You can do this with Yelp here and you can find instructions from TripAdvisor on how to get in touch if you think someone left an unjustified and defamatory review in this article.
2. Respond quickly and personally
This is the age of instant communication, which includes interaction with brands. Therefore, prompt action is necessary to reduce the impact of negative customer reviews. A speedy response shows that you truly care and are genuinely concerned about customer satisfaction.
In addition, your response should be custom-tailored for that particular reviewer, not just a cookie-cutter reply in the form of a generic, impersonal apology. You simply must take the time to carefully read and thoughtfully respond to negative customer reviews.
In fact, when companies responded appropriately and personally to negative customer reviews, nearly a third of the reviewers deleted or replaced those reviews, and about a fifth went on to make another purchase and eventually became loyal customers (e-Strategy Trends, “Online Reviews & Ratings”).
Recommended reading: How To Add A Human Touch In The Digital Age
3. Ask for clarification and confirm the issue
When you compose your reply, make sure to acknowledge that there is an issue, even if you don’t agree with the reviewer. They will most certainly have a different perspective and usually have a genuine reason for leaving the review. Try to put yourself in their shoes for a moment and you might find a new perspective on the matter. This is important if you want to show customers you truly care about their feedback and looking to improve.
At this stage, you need to make sure you understand the issue the customer has in mind. Ask any clarification questions to understand the root of the problem. Isolating the issue is the best way to tackle it and turn around a bad customer experience. Once you’re clear on that, confirm that this is indeed the problem, preferably in a private call or message if possible.
And as we previously mentioned, if you find that the review is unjustified, contact the respective platform and report it.
4. Suggest a way to resolve the problem
Once you know the exact issue, suggest a clear way to fix it.
This may involve tweaking a process in your business or even taking disciplinary action in case an employee has deteriorated from your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The important thing is to show the customer you’re willing to take action based on their opinion.
In some situations, it may help to offer an additional incentive such as a discount voucher or a refund. A negative review can sometimes cost you multiple customers so it makes sense to invest in resolving the issue this way.
5. Try to turn the review around
Now, you’ve acknowledged and pinpointed the issue. You’ve also advised how you will deal with it and offered an incentive.
So how do we turn the review around?
Well, don’t ask for it straight away because the customer will feel like you’re only doing this to get their review changed.
Instead, explain that you truly hope this will make things right and gain their trust again. Stress out how important customer feedback is to your business and that you want to bring an accurate representation of your brand online. This will put you in a much better position to mention how they can edit or remove their review (ideally sharing the links from above).
If worst comes to worst and they still feel unsatisfied, this is also okay. At least you will know you’ve done all you can to correct the issue and you got to learn what you can improve in your business and delight your future customers. Treat it as a learning experience instead of a personal blow.
Maintaining your brand image online is important for your business, and following these tips should help you manage negative reviews with confidence.
Ensure you keep routine maintenance of your online profiles on review sites such as TripAdvisor and any other popular review sites your target audience is active on. This is the best way to stay on top of your brand reputation online so you can attract more customers.
To summarize, these are the steps you can take when dealing with a negative customer review:
- Respond quickly and personally
- Confirm and acknowledge the issue
- Offer clear steps for resolution
- Try to turn the review around
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