Online customer reviews have become a very important aspect of driving customers toward or turning customers away from your business. In 2017, 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Guest experience plays a critical role in how customers view your business. With such an incredible amount of current and potential customers checking on the reviews of your business, harmful reviews can be downright frightening. Here are nine tips to deal with potentially harmful customer reviews.
42% of customers that leave a bad review expect a response within the first hour of submitting it. While in many cases accomplishing such a speedy response is not practical, your goal should be to provide some sort of response as quickly as possible. The only way to achieve this is to monitor the reviews submitted about your business. Are you?
Don’t Remove Negative Comments
Everyone that has received a negative review has thought about removing this content so other customers don’t see it. Don’t. Removing a negative review will alienate the customer that posted it and shows that you don’t have what it takes to weather a storm. Leave the negative comment and provide a response. 67% of customers appreciate that when there was an issue, your business resolved it immediately.
Avoid Scripted Responses
When a customer writes a negative review of your product or service they have had a personal experience with your business. When that review is met with the same blanket response that was used for other reviews, the customer will notice. Often, this can lead to a more negative view of your company, thus defeating the purpose of responding in the first place. Personalization is key. Use the reviewers name if possible, and take the time to specifically address the concern that has been brought to your attention.
Too frequently we forget to apologize. While the customer will appreciate that you have taken the time to respond and resolve the issue, what they were really looking for is an apology for having the problem in the first place.
Offer Something Extra
One sure fire way to get a customer back on your side and possibly back through your doors is to offer something for their time. Saying thank you is great. Nothing says thank you more than an offer for something on your dime. Many restaurants and retailers do a great job at this, and for good reason. Typically, offers such as these will compel a disgruntled customer to give you a second chance to win them over.
Don’t Ignore Social Media
Let’s face it, people talk. Review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s list have become prevalent as a go to source for consumers to let a business know how they are doing. However, social media has quickly become another great source for people to get a glimpse of how the general population views your product or service, and in some cases, can have a greater reach than a review site. That comment that Sally Smith just left on your Facebook page is going to be viewed by everyone she is connected with. Be sure that you are monitoring and addressing negative comments on social media platforms just as you would a more standard review site.
Leaders Should Respond
Imagine if you had a bad experience at a McDonald’s restaurant, posted a bad review, and Ray Kroc himself had responded. You would really feel like McDonald’s cared about your opinion. I know, Ray Kroc passed away in 1984, but my point doesn't change. Responding to negative customer reviews is not something that should be delegated. A personalized response delivered by someone in leadership at your company is sure to garner feelings that your company cares and is on top of the game.
Use Negative Reviews To Identify Opportunities To Improve
If there is a common trend in the negative reviews you are receiving, then there is probably room for improvement around that area of concern. View negative reviews as an opportunity to iron out the kinks in your product or service that might currently be overlooked.
Take action even if you have only received one negative review. Don’t blow it off. You have been given an opportunity to improve. You’ve potentially lost at least one customer. How many lost customers will it take before you address the issue?
On one hand, negative reviews can be disheartening and down-right scary. On the other hand, they can be an opportunity to improve your business and bring a customer that you otherwise would have lost, back into your corner.
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