If you’ve learned anything about maximizing SEO (search engine optimization) for your brand or business, then you’ve learned that online reviews play an increasingly important role. For example, if lots of your customers post reviews about your company on Google, then when potential new customers search for your services, your website is more likely to appear near the top of the search results. So learning to handle negative reviews has become a crucial subject for business owners.
The prominence of online reviews can feel like a two-edged sword. You may fear online reviews because you think many people will say negative things just for kicks. In fact, some businesses are so afraid of this issue, they ignore online reviews altogether. However, sticking their proverbial ostrich heads in the digital sand is the worst possible thing they can do!
Bad Review Clouds Have Silver Conversion Linings
There are many reasons to value online reviews–yes, the bad as well as the good. The more often your business is mentioned online, the more likely you will rise in search results. Also, according to the Local Search and Online Reviews Survey 2017:
- More than 50% of shoppers always or often check online reviews
- 62.7% think online reviews are “very important”
- Only 3% do not consider online reviews when making a purchase decision
If you were anxious about online reviews before, these numbers might intensify your worries. If online reviews are that crucial to shoppers, what’s to prevent negative reviews from driving away your potential business?
Handle Negative Reviews the Right Way
Negative reviews let you showcase both your honest concern for customers’ problems and the great features about your company. If the person who left the bad review is really one of those people who gets their trollish kicks from saying dramatically bad things online, there may not be any hope for reaching that one individual. But the hundreds of onlookers will see your responses and be impressed.
For example, say a customer has a problem with your business and posts about it in an online review. You now have the opportunity to do several things at once that can lead to more business. Negative reviews give you the chance to:
- Offer to fix the problem and give the customer an incentive to return. Many people who complain online actually do have problems they would be happy to have fixed by the company. If you reach out to make their situation better and offer them something worthwhile, chances are good they will try your services or product again.
- Respond promptly and personally. When other people online see your quick response to a bad review on Facebook, complete with an offer for 20% off, or a free meal, or night’s stay, they will be impressed and far more likely to purchase from you. They are especially impressed when the owner of the business responds directly.
- Write to each person in a detailed way that shows you are really reading and responding. Never reply to online comments with a copied-and-pasted response. When other people see you engaged in a real conversation, it will create priceless goodwill.
- Let people know even more about your great product or service. When customers complain about something like price, let people know that your prices might be somewhat higher because the quality is too. Negative reviews often offer a great chance to let customers and leads know more detail about your business. Describe what will often make them want to give you a try or come back in.
How you handle negative reviews online says a lot about you. So, start monitoring those reviews! After you’ve groaned a little, reply to them as fast as you can. Remember, they are an excellent opening to a conversation that can show everyone how great your company or product really is!