Consumers are more likely than ever to ignore advertising and rely on the opinions of friends, family and complete strangers to decide whether it is worth their time and money to buy from a business. That is why reviews of products and services have become a big profit boost for both online businesses and brick and mortar stores.
Companies that get great reviews experience a powerful and noticeable jump in sales. Those that receive bad reviews and don’t manage them can feel the sting and impact in the bottom line. Up to 86 percent of customers in a study by ReviewInc said that they use online review sites before doing business with a company. So business owners need to make sure they take reviews seriously and manage negative reviews immediately.
Bad reviews are not the end of the world but they must be properly addressed. There are three things you can do to manage negative reviews and use them to your advantage:
Respond immediately in public to negative reviews to show that you are attentive to customers concerns. Negative reviews can be bad for business because they are publicly posted for the entire world to see. This creates a potentially embarrassing impact on reputation. You can turn this around by being attentive instead of embarrassed into silence. In the very same forum that the customer wrote the review, respond to their concern.
Make sure your reply is not personal or emotional. It should only address the service and product issues the customer raised. Include in your reply that you are getting in touch with them directly to see what can be done to fix or make up for their negative experience. Responding immediately and posting publicly will get the ball rolling on helping this customer and also show other customers and people reading the reviews that you are an attentive and professional business that truly stands by your product and service. A well-crafted reply can negate a bad review.
Get in touch with negative reviewers to solve their problem, and then post the results.
Follow through on your promise to get in touch with the customer to address the problems they experienced. If they bought something and it arrived damaged or if they didn’t like the way their food was prepared or the way they were treated in your establishment, all of this can be addressed. Replace the item, offer to have them come back and try the dish again at no cost or apologize for the poor service and give them a reason to return to your business and have a better experience. Find the simplest most direct way to fix their problem, and make sure you ask them if they feel satisfied with the solution, then follow through.
Once the issue has been addressed, go back on the public forum and reply again to the customer indicating that you are pleased to have talked to them and solved their problem. This, again, turns the negative review to your advantage by showing the negative reviewer and other people reading the reviews that you immediately responded to the complaint online and then followed up with the person directly to fix the problem. People understand that things cannot always be perfect so they will see this as great service for one of the times that things didn’t go as planned.
Ask customers who post negative reviews to update their review with a favorable recap once you solve their problem. Once you have solved the negative reviewer’s problem, ask them to go back to their initial review and post an update expressing how content they are with how you addressed the problem. It is important that you ask them to update the review—not delete it. A study by Harvard and Wharton business schools found that both positive and properly managed negative reviews can boost a business’ sales. When every single review of a business or product is excellent people suspect them to be fake or dishonest. When there is a balance of excellent and negative reviews, people trust them more. The key is managing negative reviews.
With these three tips in play, you are well on your way to using both positive and negative reviews to boost your sales.
J. Garcia is a writer for ReviewInc.