Customers trust reviews written by their peers much more than information on official websites or advertisements. When business owners see negative reviews, their first instinct is to get delete them and hope nobody notices. Negative reviews might not be something you want to see on your website or business listing pages, but they can actually be good for your business.
Research conducted by Reevoo shows that 95% of consumers are skeptical of websites or brands that have no negative reviews, and suspect fake reviews or censorship. The presence of bad reviews gives your positive reviews more credibility. In fact, 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad ones.
Negative reviews also increase user engagement, as customers often spend about 17.6 minutes looking for them. The internet has made many customers a lot more meticulous when going about their research, and they look for negative reviews to determine if they’re making the right choice. Increased engagement may give you more opportunities to convince them that they are.
What should you do when you spot a negative review on your website or business listing? Here are three simple steps to help you out.
Don’t Delete It
Removing a negative review after it’s already been posted can do more harm than good. Doing this will only irritate the already dissatisfied customer even more, and will make readers think you don’t care enough to listen to what they have to say. This is also why business directories like Yelp, Google Places, and Angie’s List don’t let you delete a review unless it violates their guidelines.
Respond Properly, Promptly, and Consistently
Much like dealing with negative comments on social media channels, right way to deal with negative reviews is to follow-up with the customer who posted it to address the issue and convert him or her into a brand advocate. This shows how much you care about your customers and value their opinions. When dealing with negative reviews, it’s important to remain calm and professional. Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s manager of local business outreach, said “…we suggest thinking about what your customer policies are for face-to-face interactions and applying that same logic to your written response.” You wouldn’t yell at your customers in person, so don’t initiate an online shouting match with an angry response. If you don’t trust yourself to remain calm when handling a negative review, you can always delegate the task to someone who can.
It’s also important to be consistent when it comes to responding to your customers. “You won’t hear back from every person you reach out to, and that’s OK,” Holloway says. “If you regularly implement feedback from your reviews, and engage diplomatically with your customers, you will be in a much better position over the long term.”
Actively Request for More Reviews
You need positive reviews to dilute the negative ones, but posting fake positive reviews is not the way to do it. Listing websites like Yelp can detect fake reviews and penalize you for it. You need to take the initiative and ask customers to write reviews for you. Studies show that not making the effort to solicit reviews often results in a higher percentage of bad reviews (26%). Actively nudging satisfied customers to write reviews for your products or services can reduce the percentage of bad reviews by as much as 20%.
Managing and responding to your business reviews is only one important aspect of online reputation management. Talk to us and let us help you find great opportunities to turn disgruntled customers into loyal advocates.