Knowing how to deal with negative feedback and reviews online is essential part of Small Business Marketing 101.
Customers increasingly rely on the internet to make purchasing decisions. In fact studies show that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust businesses more.
Your web presence and online reputation play a significant role in your small business marketing strategy. They have a direct impact on how current and potential customers make decisions about your business. However, it’s an unfortunate fact that no matter how hard you might try, no business can satisfy 100% of its customers 100% of the time; this can sometimes result in negative reviews online.
But, it’s not all bad…
We’re glass half full kinda people here at Glasshat, and we think that there are a number of ways you can turn a negative online review into a positive for your business. Just consider the following:
- Bad reviews give you a chance to respond to customers, emphasise the positives, and outline what steps you are taking to avoid this happening again. This can be helpful and reassuring to potential customers who are researching your products or service.
- A negative review online presents the opportunity to showcase how good your customer service is.
- Responding to criticism is a company’s opportunity to show the human side to the business and can help diffuse negative situations with a personal response.
- Negative reviews add credibility to your positive reviews – it’s natural that not everyone will love your product and customers are suspicious of brands that have no negative feedback.
See, it’s not all bad. So if you’re looking to take control of your online reputation here are some guidelines to follow should you ever have to deal with negative customer feedback.
Top tips on how to respond to a negative review online
- First thing to remember is that your response needs to be quick, positive and personal. Before you post a response decide on how you want to respond, taking your time over what you write.
- Thank the reviewer and let them know you appreciate them taking the time to give you the feedback.
- Apologise for the issue that caused them to write the negative review – try to show empathy and let them know you understand why this has caused them distress. Let them know that if your customers have a problem – you hear them. This is important for prospective customers who may be reading the review.
- Address the issue(s) raised and if possible try to resolve the issue there and then. Is there anything that you can do to rectify the problem? If so, outline what you can do to help them. If you can’t help them, try to explain why and do you best to direct them to somewhere they can get help.
- If appropriate take the conversation offline and get in touch with the customer via email / private message.
- Remember your prospective customers and highlight that you are constantly working to improve processes / customer service / products etc. This helps to re-assure customers that they won’t have to experience these issues.
- If appropriate, close the message with your contact details and an invitation to get in touch with you should further follow up be required.
- Throughout your response try to stay positive – adding to the negativity will only reflect badly on you. Remember to try and highlight the positives of your business throughout the response.
- We strongly recommended that before posting your response, you ask always someone to read over what you have written for his or her opinion. This is particularly important when responding to reviews from irate customers – it’s easy to a negative comment personally (especially if you feel it’s unjustified).
For more tips on how you can improve your small business marketing or ideas on improve the local seo for your website sign up for a free trial of our digital marketing planning tool that tells you exactly what your business needs to do next online to drive more traffic to your website.