When it comes to customer feedback, responding to negative reviews isn’t always fun. But it’s rarely an option either.
Potential customers research small businesses by looking at customer reviews to see if a business has a good reputation. This includes looking at negative reviews and how a company handles negative reviews.
A business needs to manage their reputation to improve search rankings and convert more website leads; responding to online reviews—positive and negative—is vital to solidifying your reputation.
Having a strong online reputation is critical for any small business.
Customer reviews are a big part of your company's reputation. They tell future customers what they can expect by hiring your company or buying your products.
Therefore, collecting and responding to reviews is an essential aspect of reputation management, especially when it comes to negative reviews.
How a company handles negative reviews reveals their character.
Of course, some negative reviews are fake or violate Google's reviews policy, and in those instances, it's important to know how to remove bad reviews from Google.
But often negative reviews are legitimate and it's important to respond. In some cases, replying to negative reviews gives businesses an opportunity to win a customer back or even mitigate further damage.
For example, replying to negative online reviews shows you care about customer feedback. When people feel listened to and respected, they'll be more likely to support your business in their networks.
This contributes positively to your company's reputation and helps to increase referral revenue down the road.
By responding to negative reviews with compassion and respect, you place your business into a better position to move forward with reputation marketing: using your company's own reputation with customer reviews to promote your business.
A good reputation can amplify itself, leading to growth opportunities and more sales. This is the principle that is at the heart of reputation marketing.
It's clear that online reviews are important for any small business.
As mentioned, reviews help increase search-engine rankings and improve conversion rates of turning website visitors into leads. But how a company responds to its reviews is just as essential. Out of everyone who reads online reviews, 97% of potential customers read businesses' responses to reviews.
So, how can you better manage your reputation and handle negative online reviews to keep your business moving forward?
There’s a number of things to consider when responding to negative reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp or similar review sites. We'll go over six key things to consider when replying to negative customer feedback and provide six example templates of how you can respond if someone leaves a negative review of your business.
Keep in mind that each review response should be personalized and canned responses should be avoided. Please use these examples as a guide for your own responses so you can turn those frowns upside down!
When should you respond to a negative review? Most consumers expect a reply within the same day. Respond quickly to negative reviews so that you can resolve the issue and address the situation in a timely manner. To do so, you need to monitor reviews often so that you know when an unhappy customer has left a negative review.
How you respond to negative reviews on Google, Facebook or Yelp matters. Don't get personal and blast off an angry rant when replying to a negative review. Your reply isn't just for an individual but for everyone else too. How you respond to a dissatisfied customer can influence a future customer's decision to choose your business.
When writing a response to a negative online review, keep it brief and get to the point. Steer the customer towards having a conversation to resolve the issue and suggest taking it offline.
Respond in public to negative customer feedback and when suitable, take things offline. Replying to negative reviews on Google, Facebook or Yelp allows you to provide context and show that your business works to make customers happy. Once resolved, return to the original review and thank the customer for the chance to fix the issue.
Not every negative review is about something you can fix. Some responses open you up to more negative attention. Determine if engagement is the right course of action and avoid replying to the rants of someone angry at life. Sometimes you have to stand your ground (see response #7 below), but know where to draw the line.
There are times when negative sentiment online causes others to jump on the bandwagon. Every situation is different, but no situation calls for confrontation or excuses. Tackle the issue head-on and own your mistakes. In a crisis-management situation, it is best to take the conversation offline as soon as it's appropriate.
While it can be difficult, maintaining the integrity of your business is an important part of reputation management. Online reviews are trusted by roughly 90% of consumers and many read businesses' review responses.
When responding to negative reviews of your business, remember to keep it succinct, be prompt with your reply and be professional. Provide a public response and when suitable, suggest taking it offline. Once resolved, return to the online review and thank your customer for allowing you to fix the situation.
Keep in mind that less than five percent of dissatisfied customers ever take the time to mention why they’re unhappy. This means the unhappy customers who are sharing their negative experiences are doing your business a favor.
Staying on top of reviews—positive or negative—can be time-consuming and inefficient. With NiceJob's reputation marketing services, you can automatically collect reviews from happy customers, share positive reviews across social media & your website and quickly & effectively respond to reviews for Google, Facebook and Yelp.
And with a free 14-day trial, you can see for yourself how easy it is to leverage customer reviews for your marketing efforts with no upfront commitment.