A few negative reviews can undo the online reputation you painstakingly built over the years. Even if you offer the best service or product in the world, it’s always possible you’ll still get negative online reviews.
Marketing studies reveal that even a single negative review is enough to push away around 22% of potential, even regular, customers. What can you do then? Ignoring them will not do you any good. In fact, doing so might even do further damage to your online reputation.
While you want to face these negative reviews, you’re a bit uncertain about the proper approach. If you’re in this situation right now, you’re in luck because there are a few effective ways to face the issue and rebuild your brand.
Determine what caused the negative review
According to Complaint Base, it is good practice to respond to the negative reviews but before you do, try to make your own determination first on what prompted the person who posted it. Your product or service may have flaws or glitches which you didn’t notice before, and perhaps you need to fix it. Instead of becoming defensive, investigate your business offerings first.
Real customers may have stumbled upon some defects or glitches in your product or service. So be fair when investigating and evaluating so you’ll know what to say or how to respond to the poster. Also, learn to accept criticism and the fact that you can’t please everyone.
Always respond to reviews
Whether the online review is good or bad, you need to respond to the person who posted it. This is the first step towards rebuilding your online reputation. Though it might be a competitor’s troll or an honest to goodness poster, you have to immediately respond.
Online marketing experts say that only a few customers have time to leave reviews, but hundreds of potential clients are reading these posts. If you don’t respond to them, it could mean that their negative observations might be 100% correct or that you don’t care.
No matter what, don’t be afraid and be ready to respond. It is also normal to feel the urge to retaliate and defend your product or service but this can backfire. Instead, try to sound calm and find out what went wrong. Responding to their reviews shows you care and that, in itself, is good for your business.
Make an effort to engage the reviewer or poster
Let them know you are listening to their concerns and that you sincerely care. You might want to ask them to call the number posted on your blog or website so you could personally listen to their concerns.
Show in your response that you’re more than willing to resolve the matter. There’s a chance that the person may not even call your number but even if he doesn’t, your reply to his post showed you’re willing to take his call.
This can produce a couple of good effects. For one, it will show the entire world that you’re willing to take on the issue personally. It will also make readers feel that you are going the extra mile to remedy the situation. In both instances, you’ll earn the approval of online users who read through the reviews.
Never use canned opening spiels or responses
Just imagine if you reply with “we apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you” and “we care about your concerns” for every negative review. You will sound distant and uncaring even if you claim the opposite.
If you have been responding like this, you might as well stop responding to negative reviews. You’ll just be giving them the impression you don’t care about their concerns and that you’re just responding so others would see you answered their review.
Try to be more personal in your response so you’ll make them feel you’re taking their concerns seriously. Start with “Dear” followed by the actual or user name of the reviewer, then say thank you for their review.
You can then go on to say you’re sorry to hear about his experience and you’re very appreciative he brought it to your attention. Such a response may immediately earn good points.
You should take them offline as soon as possible
It won’t do you or your business any good if you discuss the entire matter, issue, and resolutions in full view of everyone. Make your responses brief to every negative review.
Do not attempt to discuss in detail whatever issue he may have or the resolutions you plan to do. You can reply to the post with a sincere apology then ask him to get in touch with you either through phone or email.
To make it more personal, give him your name or a staff member’s name. For instance, you can reply in this manner “we are very sorry about the experience you had. Please do call us at this number and ask for Joe so he could personally resolve your issue the soonest.”
Immediately take full responsibility when the reviewer makes contact
Making an apology shows you’re sincerely trying to rectify the situation. Taking responsibility would somewhat assuage whatever negative feelings the reviewer has towards you or your business.
Avoid making excuses or pointing your finger in another direction. Be brave enough to own up to whatever issue the reviewer might have against you or your business. Even if what happened was an isolated case, a rare occurrence, or an unfortunate incident that was caused by something else, just own it up. Doing so would tell everyone the buck stops with you and that you have the power to rectify the situation.
At the same time, assure them that you maintain high-quality standards and that you regret such lapse happened. You can also further guarantee that such a lapse will never happen again.
Dilute bad reviews by building up good comments
While you’re addressing the concerns of negative commenters, make an effort to dilute their bad reviews. You can build up positive comments to drive the negative comments down to the bottom of the feed.
Refrain from soliciting reviews, however, as many sites like Yelp! prohibit business owners from doing so. Instead, you might want to ask them to check you out on Yelp! after buying products or services from you.
It is also possible to dilute negative reviews by building up positive comments about your business on other review sites. Try to Google your business and find out what these other review sites are. Focus on the ones that have good and positive reviews about you and build on them. This way, online users would see a more balanced view of your business.
Seeing negative online reviews on your site can make you feel like it’s the end of the world. Thousands of questions can start to form in your mind and uneasiness may set in.
Relax and don’t panic. If you’re offering a wonderful service or product and are serious about after-sales service, a couple of negative reviews won’t harm your business permanently.
If negative reviews are starting to outnumber good comments, perhaps it’s time to evaluate your business and find out what’s wrong with it. Then, you can move on and start fixing your online reputation.