With customers reporting that they trust online reviews 12 times more than promotional content, the efforts of businesses to pocket as much positive feedback as possible are understandable. But it’s almost impossible to create a business ecosystem that can satisfy the needs and aspirations of each and every customer that interacts with you. Someone may express a grudge over a bad customer experience which was an accidental or one-off event. But this one experience gets amplified when it crawls on social media and other consumer forums, by becoming visible to thousands of other customers. This can be detrimental to the revenue cycle of a company when you consider that 80% of consumers changed their minds before purchasing a product due to a bad review. It highlights how important it is to handle negative reviews!
Of course, in a moderate amount, there are many benefits of negative reviews. If all ratings are 5 stars and all reviews are praising the product, the ring of authenticity vanishes around them. In fact, 30% of shoppers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see any negative opinions on the page. But their increased proportion is lethal. That’s why their prevention, as well as handling, needs a holistic approach that takes into consideration the proactive measures- and not just reactive outbursts. Let’s take a look at how to handle negative reviews to prevent them from gnawing the profit share.
The old adage that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure holds true here as well. The effort should be to create an ecosystem where customers don’t feel the need to post negative reviews. Before they do that, you should be able to know and address those issues which are troubling them.
Make sure that your customer service channels are strong, and well-staffed. Perhaps more importantly, your staff must be well-trained and empowered to solve shoppers’ issues.
In a consumer-focused business that deals with a lot of customers on a daily basis, it’s very difficult to pick one unhappy customer. But it’s necessary to nip their grievances in bud if you don’t want them to become initiators of big problems later. Social media monitoring can help you spot negative commentary before it gets out of hand. You can get emails when a mention of your business pops up anywhere online — from social networks, to review sites, to personal blogs by setting up Google Alerts. Once you know the issues that are surfacing through these alerts, you can decide how you are going to respond to each and every negative review.
Within your ratings and reviews platform, use sentiment analysis to keep track of what customers are sharing. Scheduled and customized reports will deliver the appropriate information to team members, who can then quickly take action.
A prompt response to the customers’ concerns is one of the basics of how to handle negative reviews. The reason is it ensures customers that you care and value their opinions. It may also be the catalyst that results in a person who had a bad experience with your business giving you a second chance. Note that 70% will continue to do business with you if you resolve a complaint or problem.
A reviewer may be factually incorrect while drafting out his negative review. And to showcase that inaccuracy, you should put forward your side by presenting things logically. But the tone of this clarification should never take the shape of being adversarial. There is no point in picking up an argument or try to explain that things didn’t really happen the way the reviewer says because it’s not going to win you any points. People generally put their weight behind reviewers, as opposed to businesses. Thus, the ideal way is to try to be polite without appearing submissive or weak.
Remember that the customer is always right, even when he is wrong. And that’s why devising a system to handle negative reviews is never a lost cause. Moreover, negative reviews can be viewed as feedbacks that open up the possibilities of future improvements. As put forward by Richard Thomas, Executive VP of Listen360, “When you improve your business for one customer, you have improved it for all your customers”.