How to Cope with Negative Reviews
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Online consumers profoundly rely on the feedback and opinions of others to make decisions. Because of this reliance on feedback, a company’s reputation is paramount to consumers and businesses alike. Approximately 88 percent of consumers are influenced by online customer reviews when making purchasing decisions. What happens when companies receive negative online reviews? Even with the best customer service, negative responses are sometimes inevitable. If you receive unfavorable reviews, do not panic. How a company handles reviews can demonstrate their service skills and actually improve their reputation. Check out Bigfin’s top seven ways to cope with negative reviews and manage online reputation.
Understanding a Negative Review
The first step in handling a negative review is thoroughly reading and understanding the complaint. Analyze the situation—“Is this review true?” or “What can the team accomplish to fix this problem?” Make sure to never take negative reviews too personally and remain rational. Also remember that any response back to a customer will be viewed by current and prospective customers. By promptly responding in a professional manner, negative reviews can be handled before they negatively impact your reputation. This is especially true when it comes to recognizing and responding to mistakes that have gone unnoticed, but have been identified by customers.
Customers Come First
Client satisfaction is one of the most important things to keep in mind when handling negative feedback. New customers consider the feedback of other reviews with 7 out of 10 consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and then they often turn around and write reviews themselves. Therefore, client satisfaction should be taken very seriously and must remain a top priority as reviews on a company are substantial to other online users. The mantra “the customer is always right” holds firm here, so we recommend you emphasize the importance of customer service to your employees. Help explain that the communication and service they provide to customers directly builds the company brand and reflects the company values.
Respond in a Timely Matter
Another important factor when dealing with negative reviews is time. The time frame in which companies respond to negative or positive reviews is a small, yet a crucial window. Promptly responding to reviews shows customers that companies are attentive and that their needs and sentiments matter. Additionally, responding to negative reviews can help a customer change their mind and they may give companies a second chance. Showing responsibility resonates with customers and reflects professionalism as well.
How to Respond
Furthermore, a considerate and thoughtful response is crucial to feedback, but will not always win back the customer. A public response shows other potential consumers that companies are aware of and cares about what is being said. Companies that recover well from negative reviews will resonate with customers. This shows that companies are always trying to meet their needs. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when formulating a response:
- Start off by apologizing for and acknowledging their unpleasant experience
- Do not suggest that a customer is fabricating their experience or faulty for their negative feedback
- Provide additional means of communication to resolve the issue (such as over the phone or email)
- Give an explanation on how their problem was resolved, preferably publicly online if the dispute was resolved.
Effective SEO Strategies
One way to help with negative reviews from showing up in search engines is having a great search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. For instance, a negative review should not be the first thing anyone sees when looking up companies online. One strategy is having unique and updated content through web pages and blogs to ensure a robust online presence. A proper SEO strategy will decrease the chances that a negative review will be the only thing that shows up.
Defamatory Reviews: Request to be Removed
If a review is defamatory, insulting or slanderous, companies may request that the hosting site remove it. Companies may need to claim and verify a listing before initiating a request for removal. On the other hand, sometimes negative reviews cannot be removed. According to groovehq.com, attempting to eliminate reviews is a terrible approach— a bad review is not the initial problem, but a bad review is the result of a problem. Using the HEARD approach that Walt Disney created, this stands for Hear, Empathizing, Apologize, Resolve, and Diagnose. While this technique was aimed for customers to speak with an employee to create a conversation, it is an especially helpful technique for online reviews, so that a conversation can be created for customers who leave bad reviews.
A job well done or successful transaction will encourage customers to rave about companies’ customer service skills or general service. Reviews from happy customers help build and bolster online reputation. Another thing to know is having reviews on a company’s website is a great SEO boost and also brings more traffic to the site. This will help increase a company’s ranking on search engines as well.
Overall, negative reviews are inevitable, but pursuing our top seven recommended tips and listening to your clients, you can manage them. Customers want to see companies who take responsibility and show that they care about the customer’s concerns. A potentially damaging review can be mitigated by companies’ response that reflects the values and professionalism of their services. Being timely, compassionate and responsive will eventually help reduce the relevance of negative reviews and make room for more positive ones.
Bigfin.com is an industry leader in online advertising, SEO and custom web design. Our comprehensive digital marketing solutions include social media management as well as social media advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social outlets. Looking for mobile website solutions or help with search engine marketing? Contact us online or by phone at (425)822-8200.
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