It’s every business’s nightmare — bad reviews online that are turning away customers left, right and center. OK… maybe you’re not dealing with negativity on that scale, but even a single bad review can be challenging to deal with. These negative reviews have the potential to drastically hurt your business. A survey conducted by Bright Local found that two-thirds of customers form their opinion of a business after reading just four reviews.
It happens to everyone. As a new entrepreneur or an experienced one, you will likely receive a bad review sooner or later. Don’t let that negative review be the end of the world. Instead, take what you can learn from it to make your business even better.
Here are a few ways to deal with these reviews, while making sure you stay focused on what really matters – your loyal customers and getting more good reviews.
Look for Commonalities
Don’t be too hard on yourself for getting a negative review – especially if it’s a rare experience. You can’t please everybody, and not everyone is going to love every aspect of your business.
When you are reading through reviews, start by looking for any themes or repeated complaints. The most common word in negative online reviews is “disappointed”, implying that the customers had higher expectations than what was offered. Once you’ve identified the patterns, figure out what product or service is causing an issue with your customers.
Once you’ve determined which aspect of your business needs improvement, brainstorm solutions, and weigh the outcomes. For instance, if you are experiencing a customer service issue, consider the steps it might take to improve your staff. Do they need extra training? Disciplinary measures? If it’s that bad, termination?
The most important thing is to learn from negative feedback. Don’t take it too personally.
Quick Responses to Bad Reviews
The next step is to quickly respond to complaints in a professional manner. When customers go to the trouble of submitting a review or trying to make contact through social media, they expect an answer fast – over 40 percent want an answer within an hour!
When responding, don’t let anger and frustration take over. Let cooler heads prevail. Apologize, if needed, for their negative experience and explain how this is unusual within your business.
Responding to negative reviews will not only work to appease a disgruntled customer, but it may also help grow your business and present it in a new light. People like to see that businesses care about their opinions. The best way to put out the fire of negativity is by handling the customer (and the situation) in a prompt, professional manner.
Decide – Do I Need to Take Action?
It’s one thing to look at reviews and respond. Adjusting your business model and the customer experience accordingly is a whole different ballgame. Every business wants to be known as one that listens to its customers. If you’ve noticed significant patterns in customer feedback, you need to take the proper steps to usher in positive change. Failing to take action can lead to a number of long-term consequences in terms of customer opinions.
Negative reviews can have a very strong influence on potential customers. However, it does NOT mean the end of your business. However, failing to react properly can be damaging. A few bad experiences are inevitable. Take each one as an opportunity to learn and improve.
Remember what matters most – the customer!