Negative Customer Reviews: How To Stay Positive
August 26, 2019
Let’s face it, negative reviews can be one of the must frustrating parts of running a business. Whether your company specializes in retail or B2B services, reviews across popular platforms like Google Business Listings and Yelp are one of the easiest ways for customers to share their frustration. What many people don’t realize is how easily these negative reviews can be turned into golden opportunities to grow your brand’s reputation and win future customers.
Believe it or not all it takes is the right mindset and a few key steps to turn a lemon of a review into a lemonade of an opportunity to better your brand.
Identify & Appreciate All Reviews
As crazy as it may sound, one of the best things you can do to help drive potential customers to your business is acknowledging and appreciating each and every review. When customers leave a review (good, bad, or indifferent) you need to take the time to truly dissect their feedback and understand what went well or poorly.
By doing this it helps you perform what marketers call the SWOT analysis. Your internal capabilities (Strengths & Weaknesses) as well as outside forces (Opportunities & Threats) are important to identify as a business. If customers write harsh reviews that your customer service is not up to par (weaknesses) you can take this to improve moving forward.
If customers aren’t able to call in and reach a member of your team for example and are frustrated at the delay in response time to their questions, this might be a good opportunity to add a FAQs page to your website or update your voicemail to accommodate common questions like (When are you open) during off hours.
On the flipside, if customers are leaving comments like “Their prices are much higher than Example Company”, you will have a better idea of what competitors are doing (Threats) and can re-evaluate your offering moving forward. Even positive reviews can give you a good idea of what you are doing well.
Be Professional & Compassionate
As tempting as it may be to discredit a bad customer review or rebut their comment, you need to take a step back and understand that almost three quarters of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated by the company. Responding in a compassionate and professional tone to a customer’s review is essential to leveraging this opportunity.
Instead of frantically responding back with a typical “you’re wrong” or “why did you post this?” type of response, try taking a deep breath and placing yourself in the customer’s shoes. Many customers that leave a negative review simply have a problem and want to be heard. Responding in a compassionate and caring tone will not only show that you are nurturing in nature but that you are willing to identify problems and work through them.
Done well this can help win over the pickiest customers and also show future customers who read reviews that you truly value customer service and support.
Deliver a Solution
Many negative customer reviews stem from a problem. Whether it’s poor customer service, faulty products or simply bad days, a majority of negative reviews are based around fixable problems. As a business one of the best things you can do is make these customers feel like their concerns are heard and deliver a solution.
If a customer is upset that their order was lost or damaged, offer to exchange the item. If they are frustrated that their service was subpar, reassure them that you are striving to make things right. It might seem like exchanging their product or going the extra mile might be expensive and unnecessary but in the end it WILL pay dividends.
Whether it’s the customer who posted the review coming back for continued business or knowing that you did absolutely everything in your power to make the situation better, going the extra mile for your customers is the deed that really doesn’t go unnoticed. In reality you will not be able to please all of your customers but continuing to show compassion and superior customer service to loyal customers will show them you value their business and are willing to help them in the future.
This can translate to great reviews from future customers, higher sales, and even referrals.
Customer reviews can be one of the toughest aspects of a business. Encouraging positive feedback from customers is easy but handling criticism can be challenging. Taking the appropriate steps to approach the situation as an opportunity to better your business and help future customers will help you overcome even the harshest reviews.
Managed well, reviews can help give a boost to your SEO, help refine your business and acknowledge where your team excels.