Do you remember the last time you went to a restaurant without a recommendation? If you’re like me, it has probably been a while. The fact is, its close to impossible to know how good something is if you haven’t tried it before. So you want advice from someone who has already had that experience. According to stats, a staggering 93% of customers read online reviews to decide if they should make a purchase or not. And about 68%of those customers said that positive reviews had a bearing on their purchase decision.
The truth is, we live in a culture that primarily relies on recommendations and reviews to make an informed purchase decision. And it’s not rocket science, as long as your product is worth talking about, it has reviews. And you and I both know that the comments can be either positive or negative. It is possible to influence and impossible to control.
Now, assuming you have put your business out there and somehow customers are just not happy with your product, how do you handle the negative press that bad reviews bring?
Here we will share the ultimate cheat sheet you need to turn bad reviews into something useful. I know what you’re thinking… it sounds unlikely right? But nothing could be further from the truth. It is pretty easy once you get the gist of how to curb the situation.
But first things first.
Why Even Bother With Reviews?
Every business person goes into business hoping that customers will love their products and have only good things to say. However, the truth is, it’s not always a perfect science so things can easily take a turn for the worse. Knowing this, you could be tempted to forego utilizing product reviews completely. I mean why risk it if it? Isn’t it easier to disable all comments?
Quite the opposite. Disabling the comments will usually work against you. It is one of the biggest mistakes that business owners can make. It is essential to include sections for customers reviews directly into your website’s design. Yes, there are other places that reviews will pop up but at least this shows that you welcome feedback. This approach will reduce the negative comments, and by doing so, you will lower conversions.
According to a study done by Revoo, there’s an 18% chance of uplifting your sales if you include reviews on your site. Now, you may ask yourself whether 18% is worth it but if you look at the differing success rates of products with reviews and those without, the potential uplift is incredible. In fact, Bazaar Voice analyzed the effect of reviews on figleaves.com, a UK based clothing retailer, and found that products with over 20 reviews had an 83.85% higher chance of getting conversions than those without any.
The Importance of Negative Reviews
Looking back to a few years ago before advancements in the digital world, we relied on recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase decision. And that’s great, or at least it was then. But now we are living in a completely different era where we rely on a bunch of other factors to help us make a decision. One of the most effective being online reviews. According to recent studies, 97% of customers read product reviews before making a purchase decision, and 89% of them consider online reviews to be an absolute essential in making the process a lot easier.
Besides, a whopping 85% read negative reviews so that they can make a more informed purchase decision and this number skyrockets to about 91% when it comes to consumers of between the ages of 18 and 29.
Bad reviews give customers a sense of what the worst case scenario will be like. In short, it gives them a sense of what could go wrong with the service or product they are buying.
How Negative Reviews Can Help
They Open Up Customer Dialogue
Getting a damning account of your incompetence isn’t easy. You have probably painstakingly done all there is to do to ensure your customers have a seamless experience but something’s still missing. However, it provides the perfect opportunity for dialogue with your customers. Think about it. Before that negative review, you probably didn’t have the chance to engage with your customers. But now, you have an even greater opportunity to get to know them better and better persuade them. By reaching out to your customer and addressing the problem, you are in a way redeeming yourself. And with a little nudge, you just might turn a potential negative into a positive. Not yet convinced? According to a Lee Resource Inc study, if you resolve the problem quickly, there is a 70% chance that you will retain your complaining customers.
They Clue You into Areas You Need to Improve On
One of the most important aspects of negative reviews is that they help you understand your customers. From their likes and dislikes to elements of your products that they loathe, love or vice versa. Typically, you’d have to carry out some research about your audience to get a hold of this information. But with reviews, you get to sit back and still find out exactly what the general public has to say about your products.
They Show Your Human Side
Negative reviews provide you with the perfect stage for you to show your human side. You get to showcase your team and your ability to solve problems both professionally and promptly. The fact is, if you can prove that you are able to solve problems that come up before, during and after purchase quickly, customers will trust you more. Tons of customers have abandoned ship due to poor customer service, and the number keeps going up and up with time.
Dealing With Bad Reviews
Assuming you have gotten a bad review, here’s what you should do:
Examine the Review Objectively
It’s one thing to know that there’s a possibility of getting a negative review and then it’s a totally different thing when you actually get that negative review. Seeing your hard work and efforts criticized instead of appreciated can bring about a lot of hard feelings. So you need to put aside these feelings and examine whether there’s any truth to the allegations. I’m not sayings it’s going to be easy, but it is something that you have to do if you want to achieve long-term success.
With that in mind, if you choose not to acknowledge the negative review, it could open up a Pandora’s box full of negative reviews all saying the same thing. And this will be detrimental to your success.
It is not enough to examine the review; you also need to make a prompt response. The truth is that we are living in a fast-paced world where people expect a swift response and if you’re not monitoring your online reviews, you might miss it. Customers do not take that very lightly.
However, sometimes people might not leave reviews on your website or blog so how will you know what customers are saying about you? In such a scenario, you need to set up a Google Alert based on your business and product name so that you catch all mentions of your company as soon as they arise.
Personalize Your Response
Let the person know that you have acknowledged the negative review and that you’re doing something to fix the problem. Now, you might be tempted to lash out on the customer, but you need to ensure that you don’t argue with them even if you don’t agree with what they are saying. It will not only be detrimental to your efforts to showcase your exceptional customer service, but it might also fuel the fire more and make the situation even worse.
Leave the Comment Where the Online Review was Left
I’ll be the first to admit that negative reviews are embarrassing. You almost want to cover up everything, do a full sweep, and erase the very existence of it. Unfortunately, you cannot. Openly responding will show that you have nothing to hide. Also, it shows that you are proactive and eager to correct your mistake and make amends.
Encourage More Reviews
People say that when you fall, you need to get up, dust yourself and forge forward. The same is also true in business. We have already established that as long as you’ve put your business out there, you are bound to get negative reviews. Instead of beating yourself up, encourage more comments. This way, you’ll get an idea of precisely what your customers want, and you can then improve your products and services to match their needs.
It’s one thing to respond to a review, and its another to actually take action. In short, it’s not enough to merely empathize with the customer and craft an apology; you have to take the necessary action to ensure that the mistake isn’t repeated. This is not to say that an apology is not important. It will make your customer feel better, but remedying the situation is much more reassuring, and it will make them trust you even more.
Do a Follow Up Check-in With Dissatisfied Customers
So assuming you have examined the review, made a quick response and taken the necessary action, you need to check in with the dissatisfied customers to ensure that they are happy. You want the customer to know that you are not only sorry but that you also care enough to check if there are any posts about the problem, and make sure that they are now happy with your product. Or in the very least, satisfied with how the issue was handled. You might not get the customer back but, by caring, you will redeem yourself and maybe even change your customer’s perspective.
The importance of negative reviews cannot be underestimated. After all, it’s the first thing that most customers will look into before they make a purchase decision. As a business owner, it is vital to ensure that you handle bad reviews well enough to turn them to your favor. And a big part of that rests on a quick response and being respectful.
You might be tempted to lash out and let your feelings take hold of you, but it will hurt more than help the situation. With the tips outlined in this blog post, you will have a better shot at turning bad into good and even getting more conversions as a result. Make no mistake about it though, while you can turn around a bad review and get something good out of it, it is best to invest in making your products and services seamless as to provide a better overall customer experience!