Life was easier for companies and brands in the pre-digital days, when customers were generally unaware of complaints made by others. But in our social media age, infinitely connected consumers can see and even chime in on all the public chatter, both good and bad.
Stats show that 88% of consumers consider online reviews to be just as trustworthy as personal recommendations. The flipside is 94% consumers say a negative review has convinced them to steer clear of a business.
That means that negative online reviews can wreak havoc on a business, and in the most extreme cases even cause its downfall.
So, in today's business world, it's vital to have a strategy for dealing with complaints, especially online. Here are five ways to cope with and make the best out of negative online reviews.
- Respond quickly
According to ReviewTrackers, 53% of customers expect companies to respond to negative reviews within a week's time. However, on the Web and social media, expectations are often much high. A study by Convince & Convert showed that 42% of consumers expect a customer
service response on social platforms within 1 hour, meaning it's best to address problems and concerns as quickly as possible. Bottom line: the faster you respond, the better.
- Show genuine concern
When connecting with negative reviewers, expressing real concern for their dissatisfaction is a must. It's the only way you can see things from their point of view, empathize with them and relate to why they're frustrated or upset. This not only helps ease the tension, but opens
the door to deeper communication which can help you gain a better understanding of what you're doing wrong, allowing you to make improvements, which is an important part of growing your business.
- Admit your wrong… even if you aren't
Anytime you receive negative feedback, use it as an opportunity to showcase your businesses’ ability to achieve customer satisfaction, keeping in mind that the way your handle yourself can impact the opinion of far more than the customer you’re dealing with. This approach to damage control will show everyone that you are a customer-centric company, which will work in your favor in your efforts to appease the disgruntled customer and present your business in the most positive light in the eyes of others.
- Offer a solution
No matter what it takes, address their problem with a tangible solution. Doing this shows you value their business and offer great customer service. Coming up with a real way to convert a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one can also benefit you in other ways. Not only will it
show the person who left the negative review (and everyone else) that you want them to be satisfied; it impresses upon everyone who see the interaction that you continually striving to improve. And highlighting this proves your ability to solve problems and make changes
based on feedback. In a nutshell, showing that you care about your customers makes it more likely your customers will care about you.
- Follow up
After handling the negative review, go the extra mile by touching base with the customer to ensure the situation has been resolved to their satisfaction (and your own). Let the them that despite the initial bad experience that you'd like the opportunity to show them that you're
committed to doing better over the longer term by asking for their business in the future. This will demonstrate just how much you truly do appreciate their business and want to keep them and all customers satisfied.
Ater dealing with negative online reviews using these five steps, keep in mind that bad reviews are not all bad news. They come with these silver linings:
- They help to highlight positive reviews, making them look better by providing a point of comparison
- They help other customers to make more informed purchasing decisions by comparing pros and cons
- They help to build trust by proving you are not "scrubbing" negative reviews to only show positive ones
- They allow you to engage customers, showing both your customer service and problem-solving skills
- They have the power to help you to learn from your mistakes and improve products and services
Now, go start turning negatives into positives! Over time, you may even find that customers who previously left negative reviews have gone on to become vocal advocates for your brand or business.