When they say ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’… the same applies to your reviews.
Having some bad sprinkled amongst the good actually makes your business appear more seasoned and offers you, as the owner, a chance to respond and build relationships.
Believe it or not, the number one indicator your business is on the rise, or well established in your market, is when you start to receive a negative review every now and then. This is a marker of success because it indicates you are starting to attract people outside of your ideal audience just through online presence or word of mouth alone.
Truth is, 89% of people will read the responses to online reviews, so if you experience a bad review and respond to it with compassion, service, and speed, you have a better chance of not only mending a poor perception, but influencing how newcomers view you. And because you won’t be able to please everyone, negative review management strategies are important for established businesses to stay abreast to and bounce back from.
When reading a negative review or critique of your business, it’s likely you may feel attacked and frustrated that the customer doesn’t understand something or that they reacted in a public manner. While your reaction is valid, it’s important to move beyond this and see the opportunity to rebuild trust with your audience. Reacting in a way that proves you want to create a connection is a win-win, because 33% of customers who received a response to their negative review later changed it to be more positive, while 34% deleted their negative review!
When replying to negativity, remember to keep your tone friendly and understanding. It’s often best to personalize it with a name if available, acknowledge what was written and add the steps that will be taken internally. Sign off with your name and position, to again, make it more personal and so they may be able to easily identify/ask for you when they return!
In addition to the customer engagement possibilities bad reviews can bring, they also give your brand a unique opportunity to build trust with the online community and potential clients or buyers.
When comparison shoppers are searching for a company to utilize or purchase from, online reviews are one of the most important factors in their decision making process. Of course the quantity and quality of a brand’s reviews will always be integral. However, say two companies have a similar amount of reviews and star rating, but one company has responded to every negative review in a customer friendly manner, and the other hasn’t. The consumer is far more likely to feel a connection and a sense of trust with the brand who is actively managing their online reviews and customer experience.
The bottom line is the way you manage and respond to your brand’s reviews will directly impact your company’s sales.
The richest data stream is in failure. At the end of the day, you’ll never know how to improve something if everyone loves it. If you appeal to everyone, you’re speaking to no one. And best of all, the faster you fail the more quickly you will have the opportunity to pivot and succeed.
The above may sound like optimistic platitudes, but the reality is that you must know what’s not working in order to improve. Negative feedback and failure allow you to build better systems and sometimes overhaul elements completely so that your business is a true reflection of customer service.
The prelude to every incredible business success story comes with immense amounts of failure, but that failure leads to fortune. And by the time your business is successful, the failure and stories of public shaming won’t be what anyone talks about anyway.
Take the now-infamous story of Haward Schulz being rejected 242 times trying to secure capital to bring Starbucks to life. The most well-known coffee shop in the world was ridiculed at first because investors didn’t believe in an expensive shop for people to buy some fancy beans. After all that negative feedback, Schulz had a light bulb moment on a trip to Milan that Starbucks should have a coffee bar inside their coffee bean shop – but not just any coffee bar – a European, luxury style coffee bar that matched their fancy beans. And so, a business once ridiculed and passed over more than 200 times turned into the conglomerate it is today because of massive amounts of negative feedback and critique of their products and business model.
So, you too may be one bad review away from a major uplevel in your business!