Have you ever faced negative online reviews from your customers? Dissatisfied customers lead to a decrease in brand reputation, which can catastrophically impact a business. In some cases, these negative reviews can come from competitors who purposely are trying to defame your brand, but we will focus on customer reviews for the sake of this article.
According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, two-thirds of customers make a purchasing decision after reading just four reviews. Positive reviews are great and can help prospective customers make their final decision, but a negative review can be just as or even more impactful on business.
Before discussing how to turn a negative review into a decisive action for your business, let's discuss why online reviews are important.
Why Online Reviews Matter?
When it comes to online brand reputation, what a company does or creates in terms of a product or service is controlled. Companies manage their outbound communication, which allows them to maintain control over a portion of their brand narrative.
But, the rest of a company's online reputation involves its prospective and current customers. Their ability to interact with and discuss a brand has increased substantially with the use of social media, online directories, and apps. Customers' opinions are now more accessible than ever before and should be taken seriously.
Positive reviews can reaffirm a company's hard work and provide motivation, but negative reviews present opportunities for improvement and one on one communication with customers. In brief, the answer to the question of whether online reviews matter is yes.
Easy Way to Get Feedback
The digital era has made it easier than ever to connect with customers for feedback and reviews. This increased communication should be embraced by companies and used to identify where a product is excelling or falling short in the eyes of the customer.
Negative reviews should be used as an opportunity for a company to start a dialogue with customers. This can often lead to a more holistic understanding of the how and why a customer is using a product.
Increase Your Frequency and Reach
As we mentioned in the introduction, people usually check online reviews before choosing to purchase a product or service. People rely on online reviews because of the transparency, authenticity, and trustworthy information they tend to provide. Therefore, it’s necessary not to hide negative reviews or post fake good reviews.
In recent years, search engines and review sites have implemented strong protocols to prevent users from creating fake reviews. Besides, it is not a good idea to underestimate your customers. If they notice a company is generating their reviews, the credibility of your business will take a hit.
According to different sources:
- 90% of consumers read online reviews regularly for a variety of industries, from real estate to software testing services.
- 48% of people would not approach a company with zero reviews.
- 60% of people consider online reviews the most influential factor while choosing a services provider.
- 86% of people trust online reviews as much as words of mouth.
It helps in Improving Business Credibility
No doubt, customer feedback plays a crucial role in building business credibility. However, most people think only positive reviews can do so. In reality, negative reviews also provide a potential benefit to a business.
How? By offering an authentic and transparent experience with your product or service. According to research, 90% of consumers think businesses that only display positive reviews are untrustworthy.
Reviews can boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Google recognizes and takes reviews into consideration when generating search results. Google’s algorithm analyses the number and the quality of reviews when determining search results. So, to attract potential customers, you need to ensure that you monitor and manage all your reviews regularly and accurately.
How to Deal With Online Negative Reviews?
1. Look for Opportunities
Every challenge brings new opportunities. Similarly, every negative review brings a new opportunity to enhance your product or services. While exploring reviews, focus on recurring complaints. These themes will help you determine where products and services are falling short.
For example, if a customer is experiencing a customer service issue, a business needs to discuss a strategy with the support team to improve the situation with the current and future customers. The most important thing is not to take negative feedback personally, instead learn from it. In the end, this type of criticism should act as the framework for how your company evolves.
2. Respond Quickly
Responding to negative reviews will help you build trust between you and your customers. Companies should learn from online reputation management experts on how to respond to customers.
The easiest way to win the audience’s business is by making them realize that you care about their opinions, which is why quick and professional responses are important.
3. Follow Up and Ask for Removal
It’s important to apologize for the customer's inconvenience and to correct the issue as soon as possible. In most cases, the customer may remove the negative review on their own. If not, you may need to reach out to them and request them to remove or update their review.
Following up with customers, will keep you top of mind and reaffirm them that you're taking their complaint seriously.
Negative reviews can have quite an impact on potential customers. However, they alone should not ruin your business altogether. Failing to react correctly may. Failure should be our teacher but should not overpower us.
In business, it is sometimes impossible to deliver an excellent experience to customers. Look at each negative review as an opportunity to learn and bring a new change in your business strategy, product, and services.
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