What’s the first thing you do when deciding to try a new restaurant, stay at a new hotel or find a new health care provider? For 88% of consumers, it’s check online reviews. As technology has grown, reviews have become an extremely influential source of information for consumers before buying a product or service. That being said, reviews need to be an integral part of your marketing strategy. This involves closely monitoring your reviews on all directories and responding to each of them in a timely manner, both positive and negative.
Maybe you’re already a pro at thanking your customers for leaving you nice reviews, but do you ignore the negatives that come your way? Or have you received any yet? You could have the nicest, cleanest, greatest business in the world, but unfortunately, it is almost impossible to please every person with whom you will come in contact. Because of this, it is important to be prepared for a negative review so that when the time comes you will know exactly how to handle it.
Negative Power of a Negative Review
It can be easy to get upset and discouraged when a negative review shows its ugly face. However, you should not ignore it. This is an opportunity to show your true colors. The way you respond can say a lot about your company. If you respond in an argumentative, unprofessional way, that only adds fuel to the fire of a negative review and gives it more credibility. Here are some tips to make sure that you don’t make that mistake:
- Don’t take it personally. Yes, you may think of your company as a reflection of yourself, but that doesn’t mean every person who gives you 1 star hates you as a person. If you respond with this kind of attitude, you may wind up in the middle of a never-ending he said, she said argument with a customer. This, of course, is the last thing you want. So, instead of furrowing your brow and letting your fingers go to town on your keyboard, take a deep breath and calm down before you respond.
- Don’t be impersonal. Real people are behind these reviews. Typing the same exact response to every single review, positive or negative, shows customers that you don’t really care about the specific issues being brought to your attention. Rather, it shows you are just trying to make yourself look good and just doing the bare minimum.
- Don’t dilly-dally. As soon as a reviewer hits “submit,” the review has hit the world-wide web and can be viewed by billions of people. If you leave someone’s negative comments on your review site for 6 months before you respond, it shows you don’t truly care about pleasing your customers. And, it adds some credibility to the negative review because it shows you don’t have a response to it.
Positive Power of a Negative Review
Don’t fret! All is not lost when you get one negative review. In fact, how you respond to a negative review can sometimes be more powerful than getting 100 positives. It is a real chance for you to show the values of your company. Here are some tips to use negative reviews to better your online reputation:
- Take responsibility. Maybe your customer service representative really was rude to someone or you did make a patient wait too long. Sincerely apologizing for this can go a long way in building trust between you and your clients. Sometimes, just knowing their complaints have been heard and taken seriously is exactly what your customer needs.
- Be genuine. Regardless of what you may think, people know when you are being disingenuous. If you give robotic, cold responses, it demonstrates that you do not care about each individual client and are not really taking their comments into consideration. On the other hand, when you give a heartfelt, honest reply from a real person, you can resolve tension and illustrate your intentions to give great service.
- Take action! Even though a review can be negative, the customer may shed light onto real issues you have in your business. If they are right, tell them in your response how you are going to use their comments to improve your business protocols. This will make the reviewer feel empowered and taken seriously, while you know where your business can improve.
Reviews are an extremely important aspect of your business’s overall reputation. And, negative reviews can hold a lot of power. The way you respond can differentiate you from other businesses and show your customers the compassion they deserve.