Reviews matter, whether positive or negative; they matter. Online reviews impact organic visibility and also search engine results rankings. Google, the biggest search engine, has said so itself that positive/negative reviews and customer-business interactions affect the organic visibility of businesses.
At a more fundamental level, customer reviews affect the popularity, reputation, and trustworthiness of businesses. Negative reviews make people cautious about a brand, especially if it’s a small-scale business or a start-up. Reviews give other customers an idea about the quality, trustworthiness, and efficacy of a product, service, or business. They reinforce positive opinions and also provide a sense of authenticity to fellow customers.
Because of the power and impact reviews have, businesses must engage with them with speed, efficiency, and honesty. Handling positive customer reviews is easy. It is the negative reviews that have more power, and those must be dealt with swiftly. While handling negative reviews can be challenging and cumbersome, one must accept this harsh criticism and work through it.
Importance for small businesses
- Reputation is the backbone of most businesses. Negative customer reviews weaken this very backbone; this can be perilous for small businesses.
- Small businesses are not very popular and are still building their reputation. In such a delicate situation where reputation construction is not complete, negative reviews can make customers wary.
- Businesses have enough positive reviews to absorb some bad ones. However, this is not the case for small businesses, and it becomes even more critical for these businesses to handle negative reviews efficiently.
How to manage negative reviews
Negative reviews need to be managed. They are inevitable in any business and have to be dealt with whether we like it or not.
Here are some tips to help you manage negative reviews efficiently-
- Deal quickly- if you see a negative review, don’t put it off. The customer is angry enough; they should not be allowed to wait and simmer in their anger.
- Analyze the review- negative reviews are criticism (albeit not constructive) and can help you understand the not-so-perfect mechanisms in your business.
- Answer honestly- answer the customer honestly. Understand their problem and respond in a transparent manner. Most customers prefer to be answered honestly and to be ensured that their complaint is being dealt with fairly.
- Stay professional- some reviews can be nasty and hurtful but stay professional and answer appropriately. Getting angry and lashing out is only going to make things worse.
- Give custom responses- do not take a one-size-fits-all response and send it to every negative review. Customers want to know that their issues are being addressed seriously and that they are being heard.
- Be thankful and appreciative- despite the sting the negative reviews bring; they are helpful. Negative customer reviews help you understand the shortcomings of your business and allow you to improve on them.
- Go the extra mile- sometimes, apologizing is not enough. Don’t be shy to take an extra step. Send a heartfelt apology to the customer, offer a count code on your business, send some flowers, etc., to show that you care.
- Take action and get back to the customer- work on the element that caused inconvenience to the customer. After fixing it, get back to the customer to let them know that you seriously worked on their problem.
- After a while, check up on the reviews to check up on the negative review to make sure that their issue was resolved and the customer was satisfied.
- Offer compensation or exchange if necessary- if the product was damaged or defective, do exchange it or offer compensation to the customer. Care for customers’ opinions.
- Remove fake reviews- all businesses end up delaying with counterfeit reviews at some of the other points. Remove these fake reviews from your site. Take the help of professionals such as SEO India for this.
- Understand the mechanisms of how reviews and rating sites Work- to better deal with negative views, understanding the functioning of review sites would go a long way.
Now that you have some idea about how negative reviews can be tackled, here is a list of things you should never do while dealing with them.
- Don’t ignore them
- Don’t disregard them
- Don’t get angry or defensive
- Don’t get personal
- Don’t deny legitimate criticism
- Don’t fight with the customer
If you are a small business and don’t have the time needed to deal with negative forgiveness, you can always turn to professionals. Professionals such as SEO India do reputation management.
Online reputation management is essential because customers always look at your views before purchasing. Negative or fake reviews can seriously affect the success of the business.
SEO India will deal with online reviews on your behalf and also carry out online reputation repair so that you have the time to focus on your products and their ingenuity.