Negative reviews are a headache for any company. No matter what niche you are in there’s nothing you can do to control them. One of the skills of entrepreneurs is to take a deep breath and react to them, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do this. Burying your head isn’t going to work, nor will reacting with anger and outrage.
You have to take them seriously and your company has to steadily change based on these scathing reviews. This article is going to show you how to protect your online reputation to the best of your ability.
Negative Reviews are Inherently Good
To an extent, you want negative reviews. Have you ever looked at a TV ad where a company has claimed that 99.9% of customers are satisfied? The chances are you rolled your eyes and didn’t take them seriously. It’s because it’s entirely unnatural to have such a high approval rating. Most companies will have a group of people who hate everything about them.
And that’s okay. The occasional negative review will give you credibility. Furthermore, not all of these negative reviews will damage your company. If the review is just plain abusive, nobody is going to base their purchasing decision on it. They will just laugh and move on.
Respond to the Review
The first thing you need to do in the event of any online review is to respond to it. You have to show your target audience that you are listening to what they have to say. That’s the essence of a great review. The difficulty is in deciding how you should respond.
There are so many companies that have failed to protect their online reputation by responding in the wrong way. Don’t just thank them and move on.
Thank them to acknowledge their complaints and then tell them what you are going to do to make it right. It may be as simple as a pledge to do better in the future, or you may offer compensation. You are not focusing on the person you are talking to you are focusing on the silent masses watching this interaction.
If you can get a customer back, that’s great. But if they move on the fact you responded in the right way will leave you with some major plus points.
Walk in their Shoes
Consider the fact that 97% of customers consider reviews as ‘important’ when making a purchasing decision. You need to walk a mile in their shoes in order to fully understand where the customer is coming from. Not only will this allow you to come up with measured responses, but you will be able to understand your target audience better.
Take a step back when you receive a negative review and try to think about why they would have written that review. Do they have a point?
Offer a Real Solution
We touched upon the need to offer a solution earlier, but this is so important that it warrants an entire section. Apologizing is important, but making it right is the crux of the matter. You need to come up with a real solution in order to show unhappy customers that you value what they say.
There are multiple ways you can offer a solution. The first way is to offer to solve the problem. If a product is faulty, offer to fix the product entirely free of charge. But if this isn’t what the customer wants you may need to make an offer of compensation, in the form of a coupon or a refund.
It doesn’t matter if the customer refuses the offer publicly. The point is you have shown that you are willing to make the problem right.
Change Your Company
Negative reviews don’t always have to warrant an entire change in your company. The occasional complaint about one feature or product can be considered a personal preference. But if the same issue is cropping up time and time again you know you have a problem.
React to the same complaints by actively changing your company. This is the only way that you are going to stop the bad reviews from coming in. Use negative reviews as part of your planning for the long-term.
Protecting your online reputation is about embracing negative reviews. You have to be able to look at feedback from an objective point of view and then act soberly.
By doing this you can turn your company’s reputation around and protect it in the long-term.