3 ways to handle negative online reviews
Negative online reviews inevitably come up in every business, so what’s the best way to handle them and turn a complaint into positive outcome?
Yelp, Product Reviews, WOMO, Choice, zomato, Tripadvisor, Amazon, and Facebook – these are just a handful of platforms in a sea of websites where consumers can unpack, rate and critique products and services. Today’s raft of online review sites leaves little margin for continual error, low quality and bad service, and can severely dent the reputation and the revenue of a business if left unaddressed. But even if you’re on-point in every aspect of your venture, you can’t always control expectations or please all of your customers 100% of the time, therefore negative reviews will inevitably crop up. So in a digital world where customers have the final say, what’s the best way to handle negative reviews and ensure they don’t topple your business?
We list three ways to take control of negative reviews and even turn them into a positive outcome.
1. Join the conversation
Respond to each review individually as soon as you see it – but take the time to prepare a thought-out response which addresses the customer’s concerns and remedies their negative experience. If the review is long and raises multiple concerns you can alternatively acknowledge it in public then send a full response privately. Leaving a public response is important because it allows consumers to see you've addressed the concern in a professional manner. Use a professional voice and treat the review as a two-way conversation. Reviewers are able to update their online review, which is another reason to always provide a response.
2. Create a response strategy to complaints
Customers recognise the leverage a negative review can create and can seek free services or refunds as compensation, or even threaten further action if you don’t cave to their requests. Developing a clear strategy which clearly outlines your stance on responding to complaints and mitigating threats will assist you to deal with dissatisfied customers.
3. To delete or not to delete?
Many sites like Product Reviews and Yelp will preclude you from removing a negative review unless it’s false in which case you can dispute it through the correct channels. But if the review is left on your company social media page you can remove it. Most sources will tell you not to delete a negative review – instead address and remedy the complaint which is an opportunity to appease the customer, change the conversation and woo them back, turning a negative into a positive. It is also an opportunity to showcase your outstanding customer service. However if the review is false, inflated or profane it’s advisable to remove it completely.
According to reviewtrackers.com, Yelp attracts 139 million unique visitors each month who have written over 67 million local reviews – that carries some serious weight for a brand!
We will list more negative review resolution tips in next week’s blog.