August 14, 2021 Last updated August 14th, 2021 950 Reads share

10 Strategies to Handle Negative Reviews For Online Business Owners

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Reviews have become increasingly important, providing consumers with guidance when making online purchases, giving them insight into other people’s opinions, and giving brands the chance to earn consumer trust through testimonials.

The report says that despite the decline of consumer trust in the media and brands, 48% of American consumers rely more heavily than two years ago on online reviews. Furthermore, 89% of consumers globally – and 90% in the U.S. – research online before purchasing.

Businesses can benefit from online reviews on sites like Google and Trip Advisor, Glassdoor, and Yelp, as well as social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. It is essential to get positive reviews to help establish your company’s credibility and show that its products and services are authentic. 

Negative online reviews, however, adversely affect customer trust. Online consumers compare products and services and rely on reviews when deciding which brand to purchase. Therefore, a business should strive to receive more positive reviews than negative ones. The strategies we will provide you will help you achieve that goal. 

Tip # 1: Make Sure the Review Is from a Real Customer

Verify that a real customer wrote the review. A legit review site will flag any questionable reviews. Yelp, for example, allows users to report false claims.

There’s a lot at stake for your business, so fake reviews cannot be ignored. There are often procedures for removing inaccurate or defamatory reviews on review sites. Consult the review site to flag and remove fake reviews. 

In general, if you cannot verify whether a review is fake or real, it is best to treat it as credible and respond using the following tips.  

Tip # 2: Respond Promptly

You have a responsibility to respond to negative online reviews. If you do not respond promptly, you are almost certain to lose the customer. One negative rating will spread to other consumers online, turning away potential customers. 

Credibility is enhanced when your online business responds to negative reviews appropriately. You have the chance to convert a critic into a brand ambassador. By responding as quickly as possible, you demonstrate that you are trying to resolve their issue as soon as possible.

Respond to negative reviews within 24 hours after they are posted to show your commitment to the customer. Customers appreciate prompt responses to their concerns as it shows them that your business cares. 

The resolution does not have to be available immediately. It is sufficient that you are working to resolve your customers’ concerns. 

 Tip # 3: Be Polite, Professional, and Empathic

Critical reviews can make you feel defensive, especially if they are not your fault. But don’t forget that your response will determine the credibility of your business.  You can use the negative attention to your advantage. Demonstrate understanding and empathy by responding appropriately.

Explain the issue to the client to confirm that you have a complete understanding of their concern. The client will also feel heard and will help lower their stress and anger levels.   

Acknowledge the emotions expressed by the customer in their online review. Do not try to change or dismiss their feelings by imposing company policies on them. Nothing is more irritating than being emotionally invalidated. This will only enrage the customer, and you will have a more challenging time gaining their trust.   

Tip # 4: Work on Resolving the Issue Offline

Communication on the Internet is visible to everyone, and negative discussions can sometimes lead others to participate. It will be difficult for you to resolve the issue promptly.  

Encourage the customer to contact your team directly via direct messages, emails, or telephone calls, so they know that you are working to resolve the issue. A solution like this would prevent the problem from being escalated and would put the customer at ease.  

It’s easier to talk privately with the person when you take the conversation offline, and the matter stays confidential until the issue is resolved.

Tip # 5: Personalize Your Responses

Personalize your responses to customer complaints. Automated responses or canned messages will only make them even more frustrated. 

To reassure your clients that your company will be there for them, here are a few tips:

  • Use a conversational tone when responding. Use simple words instead of business jargon. 
  • Engage your customers by using their first names. Do not use the “ dear guest or dear customer” greetings. 
  • Explain to the customer how you plan to resolve the problem.
  • Acknowledge any errors the company has made and accept responsibility for them. 

Tip # 6: Show Gratitude and Appreciation

Customers are not required to provide feedback after every transaction. When a customer leaves you a review, it’s a kind thing to do, and you should appreciate that they took the time to share their thoughts. 

Thank your customers for providing feedback, whether it is positive or negative. Your business can benefit from negative reviews. Express your gratitude for the reviewer’s suggestions since they will contribute to your business’s improvement.

A positive attitude towards customer feedback, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to your clients.

Tip # 7: Make Things Better for the Customer

Listen to what your customer is saying and determine what went wrong in the process. Check how you can help the customer. Develop a plan to ensure that the problem is fixed as quickly as possible. 

Ensure that you accommodate the needs of your customer within the rules and procedures your company allows. It may seem like a lot of work, but remember that this customer can be a potential brand advocate, which means that this interaction could attract more potential clients. 

Tip # 8: Track the Complaint’s Progress

Don’t assume the problem is solved. Follow up with your customer to ensure that their requests are being met. Keeping track of the progress of the customer’s complaint shows your commitment to them.

It’s best to get in touch with the customer within a few days. Thus, early issues can be identified. Additionally, it is an excellent way to make sure you are meeting their expectations. 

Maintain communication with the customer until the issue is resolved. 

Post an official statement to social media to let your followers know that the conflict has been resolved. In this way, you will demonstrate your commitment to offering exceptional customer service. 

Tip # 9: Encourage Customers To Leave a Review

Feedback from satisfied customers can influence prospective buyers’ purchasing decisions. Ask happy customers to leave a review for you. By encouraging delighted customers to share their experiences about your business, you can best combat negative feedback.  

Provide your customers with an easy way to talk about their interaction with your brand. On your website, include links to your review profiles on various social media channels. Make sure you link to your Yelp and Google My Business profiles. 

Tip # 10: Monitor Your Overall Online Reputation

Be aware of comments about your brand so you can respond appropriately if a problem arises. Make sure you receive notifications when someone comments on your social media accounts using tracking tools. You can monitor brand-related conversations with the following means:

  • Mention provides a free account option that allows you to monitor conversations about your business on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 
  • SumAll can help you view reports about your followers, comments, and engagements on various social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Their premium version automates the scheduling of posts and recommends content.

We hope that these ten tips will help you respond more effectively to negative reviews in the future. Check-in with your customers often, and if your clients are unhappy, fix the problem before they write a negative review.

Encourage your satisfied customers to write a review of your service. You can mitigate the damage caused by negative reviews by receiving positive feedback from satisfied customers.

Do not be afraid of negative reviews. Embrace it as a chance to improve, develop, and demonstrate to your customers that you value their feedback.

Evan Bleker

Evan Bleker

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