Positive engagements are going to build loyalty and trust. This also applies to negative online reviews as well. Negative online reviews, while not exactly something you want, they provide an opportunity creating a positive online reputation for your business, so don’t ignore them. Many businesses dread negative reviews without understanding that when managed correctly, they can help to create a positive impression among your customers. In this article, we will help you deal with customers who’ve left a negative review on your Google My Business profile. We’ll give you the tools you need to make sure these reviews don’t hurt customers’ perception of your business.

Negative Online Reviews – Don’t Ignore Them

Why do customers post negative reviews

If you get a negative online review for your business, it does not mean that your product or service is terrible. No matter how good your business is, not all customers that you work with are going to leave your business happy. Though you can’t prevent every bad review, you can make sure that you are prepared for when it does happen, because it’s going to. Having a plan in place for responding to negative reviews will prepare you for the inevitable.

Negative Online Reviews – Don’t Ignore Them

 

I get it, you feel frustrated when you get a negative online review, but use it to your advantage. Believe it or not, having a good mixture of positive and negative reviews can prove that your reviews are genuine. Trust me, I get it, no business owner ever wants that negative review, but look at it as an opportunity to show just how much you care about customer service.

It has been proven that consumers will trust reviews more when they see a mix of positive and negative online reviews left by your customers. I know, seems backwards right? You would think that having nothing but 5 star reviews would make you look like an absolute rock star, but consumers may perceive this as suspicious.

Do you know how many fake online reviews were bought and paid for in 2020? According to the Harvard Business Review, an estimated 4.5 million sellers sourced fake reviews from Facebook groups.

Why You Should Respond to Negative Reviews

 

About 92% of potential customers, and existing ones, are watching to see how you respond and handle the situation, it shows that you care about customer experience and service. Roughly 40% of those potential customers are going to use your online reviews to form an impression of your business’ reputation.

Why You Should Respond to Negative Reviews

 

 

Changing Perception of Prospective Customers and the Reviewer

If something went wrong, or didn’t meet the expectation of a customer, (even if you don’t necessarily agree) by taking the time to address the negative review with the correct response you can turn it into a positive outcome. Your business will earn trust and be viewed more positively just by listening and addressing the issue that was pointed out in the negative review. A recent study has shown that 7 out of 10 customers changed their opinion about a business after the business owner responded to their negative reviews. This does come with expectations though, but again manageable and it can be turned into a positive outcome.

Business integrity, the view that is seen online, can be very easy to lose if you do not address quickly. Also, just be understanding and offer an apology when it appears necessary. My suggestion, have a few responses prepared that would cover negative experiences so that you can immediately respond by just updating a few items rather than having to come up with a new response if it happens again. That will help in most situations, but will not obviously not cover some, it’s a quick response that may potentially be a factor in determining the outcome. Again, this response, lack of response, and time that it took you to respond are all factors that can be seen. Make sure that you are putting as many positive +1’s up for your business as you can, they will add up quickly if you pay attention.

When responding to the negative review, stay calm, cool, and don’t panic. Respond to the reviewer in a tactfully and keep them engaged until the issue has been resolved. Once the issue is resolved and if handled correctly it is absolutely ok to ask the reviewer to edit the review or delete it altogether. Check out our steps to help your turn a negative review into a positive win for your business.

 

Keep the Positive Reviews Coming

Responding to negative reviews is extremely important, as is minimizing the negative publicity it could create for your business. It is equally as important to keep the positive reviews coming in for your business. Make sure that you are staying on top of sending out the requests to your customers. It is not unheard of to get a 70% response rate when satisfied customers are asked for a review, it’s all about the timing. You are going to want to send those while the experience is fresh in their minds, don’t wait until it’s too late.

 

Responding to negative reviews is extremely important

 

 

How Should You Respond to a Negative Review

Again, respond tactfully and try to turn the negative experience into a positive one. Below are some helpful tips on how to handle responding to negative reviews.

  1. Apologize – By apologizing, you are showing your customers that you are hearing them and are trying to acknowledge their concerns and care about their experience. This is where you make it crystal clear that you are willing to provide a fantastic experience for each and every one of your customers.
  2. Offer a solution – A solution to the problem is more than just you apologizing. Your solution has to show that you have put an effort into the response and not just copying and pasting a template that you had just sitting around. Make your response a personalized one to show them you care and are sympathetic to the situation.
  3. Take the conversation offline – In the event that you have a very angry customer, offer to speak to them offline and let them know that this will allow you to resolve the issue much more quickly.
  4. Thank you – Make sure that you let the customer know that you sincerely appreciate their time and feedback. Let them know that this experience will help you build a stronger business and continue to improve your customer experiences.

Offer a solution when you Respond to a Negative Review

Potential Fake Review?

If you feel that one of your negative reviews is fake, make sure you do your homework before you take action. You don’t want to overlook something and accuse an actual customer of leaving a fake review just because it was a negative one. Now, if you have done your due diligence and are absolutely sure the review is not from an actual customer, flag it and request that Google remove it.

After you have done this make sure that you respond to the suspected fake review to ensure that your potential and existing customers understand why you think it is a fraudulent review. Check out the example below.

responding to a suspected fake online review

 

 

responding to a suspected fake online review

 

 

How to Avoid Negative Online Reviews

Negative reviews are inevitable, they are going to happen at some point if they have not already. However, you can work to limit the number and frequency of negative reviews just by focusing on great customer service and letting them know where they can provide feedback. This feedback can be done on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, your website contact form, or any other ways that would make it easy for feedback to be left. Let your customers know that customer service is extremely important to you, and how they can get in touch with you to resolve issues quickly rather than feeling that they have no alternative other than posting a negative review.

Final Thought

I want you to think about a negative online review from the perspective that I am about to explain. Hopefully what I am saying will make sense to you even more and you seriously think about this.

Put yourself in the shoes of a customer, if your perception (pay attention…this it is really all that matters) of the experience that you had with a business was impactful enough for you to take the time out of your day to leave a negative review rather than just blowing it off and never shopping with a business again, obviously you want everyone to be aware.

How many times have you been a customer and had a less than positive experience? Then rather than never spending your money with that business again took the time to actually leave a review, seriously – think about that. When and if you did leave a negative review, how passionate were you about making sure the business owner and other potential customers that saw your review would actually use your experience in deciding whether or not they should choose this business?

Think about how many times that you would have just walked away feeling like you were giving that business more of your time that they didn’t deserve. Now think about the one time that you felt passionate enough to make sure your feedback was absolutely necessary. Hopefully I’ve given you something more to think about regarding negative reviews. If you want more insight on them, how to respond to them, reach out and I’ll share my approach. Yes, I actually gave it a name.

I’m just being realistic here, I believe in online reviews 100% and I rely on them every single day. When I am looking for something I need on Google, I’m not shopping for groceries or toothpaste, I am looking for something very specific. I look at the reviews of every business I choose to view the product I am looking for on. I will even go as far to Google the name of that business and the word reviews, because I know Google is not the only place that reviews can be left. Yes, Google is going to be the decision maker in a Google search, but there are literally over 150 review sites that customers can leave business reviews on.

Seem like a bit much to you, maybe, but if you’re a business owner a light in your head just went off. If it didn’t let me flip the switch for you, how can I get all of my business reviews into one location if they are on multiple review websites? How does that help me on search results? Hope that helps drive my point home, if you want to see it in action I’ll show you what your business looks like and how inexpensive it is compared to the results you get from it.

If you think positive reviews are hard to get then we should talk. Yes, if you are not actively using an online reputation management strategy, you are much less likely to get the reviews you deserve. Don’t let a negative experience have a higher likelihood of your business receiving a review than a positive one.

Take charge of your business’ reputation and show people that your business is active, reliable, and trustworthy.

As always, drop me a line if you have questions and be on the lookout for our next blog.

 

Ken G.