How Do You Handle Negative Customer Reviews?

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Negative customer reviews come at the most inopportune time for a business owner. Typically, an unhappy customer is 3 times more likely to write a negative review as opposed to a happy one. This leads us to deal with a sea of bad reviews when we have satisfied customers coming in every day.

Responding to negative reviews

It is essential to get in front of negative reviews as soon as possible. You will want to be swift and courteous in responding to the negative review. Tell the customer you are sorry about their experience and that you will do everything in your power to eradicate the issue.

This response can have two effects on your business, and both are going to be helpful for you. The customer may come to terms with the fact that you are also a real person and might rescind their review. We see this happen on average 40% of the time, so it is better than doing nothing.

The other effect it can have on your business is that it shows other potential customers that this is a one-time experience. Whether or not the review stays up, not responding to it will be the most detrimental. What we see when we don’t respond to a negative review is that “hmm this might happen to me!”. Which will turn away a potential customer or client.

Getting all the information

Before responding to a negative review, the absolute first thing you should do is to get all the information. If an employee was named in the negative review, get their side of the story. There is a chance that the reviewer is stretching the truth and blowing it out of proportion.

For example, find out that all that happened was your employee refused to accept a coupon that expired a year ago. You should mention that in your response. The main thing we are doing with review management is damage control. By mentioning you got the employee’s side of the story and that they are fabricating the truth, you are discrediting that review.

When you discredit a bad review, you are showing your potential customers that are reading over your reviews that they should disregard that review. While the review might stay up, and your star rating might be affected as well, you are doing more than you would be by ignoring it. This will also give your customers more peace of mind when using your services.

On the topic of fabricated reviews

Do you know what to do about fake bad reviews? Also known as review bombing, it is when a business receives multiple bad reviews. This can tank your rating in a matter of days, and it will hurt your search engine ratings. It is however not super common.

There are normally two reasons we see when it comes to review bombing. The first is when someone with malicious intent, maybe your competition, gets your site review bombed. The second is an unhappy customer tells everyone to give the business a poor review; this matter is more delicate. If you believe that your competition is behind it, then you can contact the review websites and submit an appeal. They may take all the bad reviews out or just purge any review made at a certain time. This is also a highly unethical offense, and the review websites may look into the person doing the review bombing. Nothing is guaranteed, though.

Here is what you can do to get rid of those reviews

For starters, respond to all of them. The process of getting rid of bad reviews does take time and is not always a guarantee. Let the public know that the person giving the review was never a customer of yours. This will still hurt your star rating, but it is better than letting it sit there.

Preventing your star rating from tanking

As a business, you always want to stay above four stars. Not everyone is going to have a great experience, and you can’t fix that. You can, however, get ahead of a bad review by ensuring you get good reviews. While unhappy customers are 3 times more likely to write a review, happy customers are not more likely to write a review at all. The customer expects everything to go well, so they don’t feel the need to write a review. More so, they don’t have the same angry energy as an unhappy customer, so they don’t want to go out of their way just to write a review.

Having more positive ratings offsets negative ratings

This leads us to the process of making it as easy as possible for a customer to write a review for you. Instead of asking them to look up your business on all the various search and review platforms, send them the links. I do mean the direct links to the review page. Give them 2 options and no more than 2.

You can send them these links over email, text, or have a physical QR code in your store. Ask them after they have a pleasant experience, or you can also send them an email after they check out. Let them know it helps you out and the business. Even if they don’t write a whole paragraph, it will show you are doing a good job providing a good experience.

Now that you know how to handle negative reviews, it is time to get out there and check your online reputation. At Colt B Solutions, we offer a dashboard for your business that comes with a reputation management tool. The tool is free for 7 days, so you can get a feel for it. Sign up for it here and start dealing with negative reviews!

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