Creating an online presence gives your business more opportunities to increase its client base and exposes it to possible negative reviews that can poorly influence your business.
When that occurs, you may choose to remain silent, address the problem internally, or respond to the reviews and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.
This post looks at the importance of responding to negative reviews and the best strategies to ensure your business growth isn’t hindered.
Why Respond To Negative Reviews?
Builds Trust with Clients
Customers want to work and build relationships with authentic brands. Besides being reliable and offering high-quality services and goods, responding appropriately to reviews shows a genuine brand.
When customers realize you can accept your wrong, apologize publicly, and amend things, it builds trust. They recognize that they are valued, not just a means to the end. This assures them that should something arise in the future, it will be addressed accordingly and that you are trying your best to deliver quality services or products.
Maintains Brand Reputation
While you may perceive a negative review will ruin your online reputation, more harm occurs when you fail to respond appropriately.
Sometimes, the negative review was because the customer didn’t understand how a product was used or some slight misinformation. By responding and helping the client understand the situation, you’ll maintain your brand’s reputation.
Since the review’s response will be public, this will continue enhancing your online presence in the eyes of prospective clients and customers.
Increased Ranking on Local SEO
One factor that affects ranking is the quality and quantity of reviews. Your reviews will be one-sided without a response, and the prospects and clients will have less information concerning your business.
However, as you respond to even negative reviews, you can mention your brand, location, and the services you offer. This increases visibility and more opportunities to make sales or improve brand awareness.
Better Brand View
Since reviews play such an important role in customers’ purchasing decisions, it’s good to provide as much information about your business as you can. By responding to the negative reviews, your prospects and customers have more information to understand various aspects of your business.
It is important to remember that customers are not looking for a perfect company with five stars but are looking for reliable and authentic trends. For instance, if they notice that you’ve improved on something that had attracted a negative review, they’ll view you better and are more likely to do business with you.
Prevents Future Petty Negative Reviews
When customers and prospects realize you take the reviews they provide seriously, they will be less likely to leave negative reviews on petty things that could be ignored. This continues to enhance your brand’s image.
Individuals who want to leave negative reviews for malicious reasons will also be deterred. So, this online reputation management continues to work for the good of your business.
Helps Identify and Solve Problems Early
As you endeavor to respond to negative reviews, you’ll need to dig deeper to understand the problem, its causes, and underlying issues. This analysis can help you identify a problem in policies, practices, or processes hurting the business.
This prompt response prevents the problem from escalating further and hurting your business more, meaning the negative outcome will be short-lived. It could even result in better outcomes in the future.
An Opportunity to Know Your Clients Better
The process of knowing your buyer persona is continuous. With an open mind, you can make responding to negative reviews a learning process and gain in-depth knowledge of your clients’ wants.
It’s possible that your customer service is not as good as you think, your processes or products need improvement, or your communication is lacking. Whatever it is, a negative review can provide better feedback and more information than a positive one.
So, next time you have to deal with some negative feedback, look at it as an opportunity to continue improving.
How to Respond to Negative Feedback
Now that you know it’s essential to respond to negative feedback, what tips and strategies can you use when it does come time to reach out? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Address the Feedback Internally
Before going public:
- Evaluate and assess the feedback internally first.
- Try to understand why, how, and what caused the problem and if there’s something you could have done better.
- Again, focus on the issue and not the person responsible.
Have a Framework in Place
Since negative reviews will most likely occur no matter how good you are, have a template in place that you’ll follow in your responses. This enhances your credibility and reputation.
Since the review was publicly left, ensure you also respond publicly. This shows some vulnerability and genuineness, which can help amend things. Also, it encourages conversations and feedback since your clients see that you care and listen.
Transparency is Key
Do not sugarcoat your mistakes. Customers are more concerned with a transparent brand than a ‘seemingly’ perfect one. Moreover, it’s impossible to satisfy all your customer’s needs as more clients mean conflicting demands. Therefore, if you are wrong, accept it and make a promise that you are sure you can fulfill.
One thing you want to avoid is responding for the sake of it. To show you genuinely care, ask questions where the review looks vague. You can offer a more relevant response with a proper understanding of the issue.
Provide Actionable Solutions
After accepting your mistakes and apologizing, is there something else you can do to show empathy and care? Since most times there is, you should do that. It’s a better incentive than just words. For example, another product or service for free would go a long way.
Have a One-on-One Conversation
Calling the client or reaching out to the person who left the negative review and having a 1:1 conversation will remedy the situation and draw more customers.
Be Prompt in Your Response
When clients provide feedback, they’d love to see some response within the shortest time possible, say a few hours or days later. Otherwise, waiting too long could be detrimental to your business.
When customers leave negative feedback, it is vital to promptly respond with genuineness and transparency. This builds your online reputation, increases local SEO ranking, offers valuable feedback, deters petty negative reviews, and provides more information about your business to prospects and new customers.