Responding to Negative Reviews Online: How to Create a Positive Effect
Are you unsure if responding to negative reviews online is the right move for your business? Do you want to respond in a way that creates a positive effect? Should you even be concerned about negative reviews?
Nearly 9 out of 10 Consumers Read & Trust Online Reviews
According to BrightLocal’s most recent annual Local Consumer Review Survey, 88% of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a business, up from 85% in 2013. More people are relying on reviews, and about 39% read them on a regular basis. The survey also found that most consumers trust reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation.
What are consumers reading about your business?
Most Businesses Receive Negative Reviews
Regardless of how great your business is, expect to receive at least some negative reviews. No business can please all of the people all of the time, no matter how hard you try. Knowing this, we tend to believe the authenticity of reviews if they include at least one or two negative ones.
Whether positive or negative, reviews can provide valuable feedback for a business. A stream of negative reviews strongly indicates problems the business needs to address right away. But whether you receive many negative reviews or only one, how you respond can make a significant difference.
Responding to Negative Reviews Can Have a Positive Effect
While it is not necessary to respond to every review received, your response does open a line of communication with your customers. And, responding to negative reviews can have a positive effect, if handled the right way. You may change that customer’s opinion and also gain the trust of other consumers, or turn them all away.
You could also turn a single negative review into an opportunity to highlight positive aspects of your business. For instance, you might write something like: “We apologize for any inconvenience… In business for 65 years, we strive to provide exemplary service to each of the 500K+ customers served annually….”
Any response you make should be professional, polite and sincere. Keep it short and simple.
Most importantly, do not respond with an emotional outburst or attack your critic. Take a breather and investigate the claim. If it is valid, own it. Apologize. Do what you can to resolve the issue and explain changes you made to prevent it from happening again.
Whether you believe the negative review is valid or not, don’t engage in a back and forth dispute. If the customer continues to criticize your business through social media, politely ask the person to provide further information by email so you can resolve the issue to his or her satisfaction.
When responding to negative reviews about your business online, you can take smart actions that help prevent escalation of the negative effects. Doing so shows you are human and you care.