Bad Reviews: Why They Might Not Be As Bad As You Think
In the digital age, good impressions are key, and one of the best ways to make a positive impression on a potential customer is to have strong online reviews. Some of the most common places to leave reviews include Google My Business, Amazon, Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and the Better Business Bureau.
The reason online reviews are so important is because of the trust they build. 84% of online users trust reviews as much as they trust recommendations from their friends, which means that online reviews are almost as powerful as word-of-mouth marketing. Other benefits of getting positive reviews include:
Providing social proof, which drives sales and purchases
Building brand trust
Providing an open line of communication to customers
Improving rankings on search engines
Even though reviews can be so powerful for a business, they can be hard to come by. In fact, only about 5-10% of consumers write reviews. Even if your services are top of the line, it is normal to see a negative review every now and then. When this happens, you do not need to panic. In reality, negative reviews can actually validate your positive ones.
If all a potential customer sees is a slew of positive reviews, they might question their authenticity. Negative reviews can actually assure a potential customer that your positive reviews are real while providing you with an opportunity to address concerns. It is still in your best interest to handle any negative reviews properly and minimize their damage.
How To Handle Negative Reviews With Grace
If you are running a business with an active online presence, it is not a matter of if online reviews come, but when. One of the most powerful ways to handle a negative review is to respond to it directly and graciously. Every interaction you have with a customer counts, even the negative reviews.
Plus, many companies don’t respond to their reviews, so doing so can really help you to stand out from the crowd. Around 54% of local businesses say they respond to all or most reviews, according to Podium. While that is a decent number, it still means that 46% of them are not in the habit of responding.
Some industries tend to be more consistent with responding to reviews than others. For example, cleaning services have shown to be more active in their responses, responding at a rate of 44%. Law firms, on the other hand, respond at a rate of only 27%. This means that if you are running a law firm that wants to get a leg up on the competition, responding to reviews will set you apart from 73% of legal businesses.
It might seem like the client who left the negative review is long gone, but you would be surprised how far a simple response can go. Even if you are not able to win this particular customer back, your other potential customers will see this interaction and likely gain respect for you. Some tips for responding to a negative review include:
Apologize for their negative experience
Acknowledge the customer’s complaint and validate their concerns
Take responsibility for the situation
Explain the situation if necessary and applicable
Offer to take the discussion offline and remedy the situation
See an example below of a great way that a local business responded to a complaint:
How To Encourage Positive Reviews Without Annoying Your Clients
Responding to the review is a great first step, but the best way to truly combat a negative review is to get more positive ones. If you find that even your most satisfied clients are not leaving reviews, it might be because reviews are simply not at the top of their minds. Ready to get the reviews you need to boost your business? Here are some ideas to get you started:
You might feel annoying asking your client to leave a review, but chances are, if they have been loyal and satisfied with your service, they will be happy to do it. After all, as the old saying goes, “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.” If you need to work up a little courage to ask them, it can be a great idea to print out instructions on a business card that will direct them to the place where they can leave reviews. If it makes sense for you to take their email address, you can send a follow-up email to let them know you appreciate their business and would also appreciate them leaving a review. Just make sure you’re asking for honest reviews and not positive ones.
Interact with your clients on social media
Social media is a great way to stay at the top of your clients’ minds even when they are not currently seeking your services. Plus, social media platforms like Facebook have a specific section for reviews. Checking in with your followers and responding to them frequently will increase your chances of getting more positive reviews. If one of your followers leaves a kind message or comment about your business, you could also thank them and politely ask them if they wouldn’t mind leaving their comment as a review.
Provide a positive client experience
This is probably the most organic way to encourage your clients to leave positive reviews. If you go above and beyond their expectations, they might feel that leaving a positive review is the right thing to do. Remember that even the smallest details can mean a lot to your clients, so don’t overlook the little things! Make sure your team upholds the best customer service practices. This will make your clients feel special and they will be happy to spread the word.
Host a contest
If you feel like you need to give your review sections an extra boost, you can host a contest to encourage clients to leave reviews. You can encourage clients to leave an honest review as a form of entry in a contest to win a gift certificate, gift card, or other form of access to your services. The clients who would be interested in winning this have likely already had a positive experience, so this can be a great way to get the reviews flooding in.
When you start to see the positive reviews coming, the work is not done! It is just as important to respond to positive reviews as it is to respond to negative ones. Whether they mean to or not, businesses that only respond to negative reviews can encourage more negative feedback. Responding to the positive ones and even the neutral ones will let your clients know that you are attentive and consistent, and that you deserve their time. When you see a positive review, take the following steps to respond. Doing so will go one step further to combat the negative reviews:
Thank the client sincerely
Keep your response short and sweet
Be authentic and personal in your response
Take a moment to respond to a specific point in their comment
Let them know you look forward to seeing them again soon
Share the positive review on your social media accounts
Need help with review monitoring?
Scorpion has been helping small businesses just like yours for over 20 years. Our marketing and review monitoring services can help you grow and improve your business as your pace.
Ready to combat bad reviews and start getting more positive reviews for your business? The team at Scorpion can help. Contact us to learn more about our digital marketing efforts and technology.