Are you willing to work hard for great reviews?
You’re not the only one. Most businesses strive to get as many five-star reviews as possible. It’s easy to see why.
Before you order something online, take a trip to a new restaurant or download an app. What’s your first action?
You will probably read the reviews. You’ll probably not buy an item or go to a new restaurant if they are bad. If they are good, you will likely give them a chance.
You should try to get five-star reviews and avoid any negative reviews.
This shouldn’t be your goal.
It’s not necessary to have perfect reviews. Negative reviews can be a great help to your business, in ways that you might not have expected.
Negative reviews are not something you should be focusing on.
It may seem hard to believe, however, it is true.
Here are some reasons you should have negative reviews.
How negative reviews can benefit your business and their importance
We relied on the recommendations of our families and friends before the advent of the internet. But now, we rely on so many other factors to make our final decisions about companies.
Trustworthy Overeview.io seems to have more influence than family and friends on online purchases for 68% of US shoppers.
Only 42% of consumers are influenced by recommendations from family and friends.
Reward programs, brand reputation, and trustworthy online reviews have replaced good old-fashioned word-of-mouth recommendations.
A 2017 study by Power Reviews once again confirms the growing consumer dependence on ratings and reviews.
Today, 97% of consumers read product reviews before buying. 89% consider online reviews an important resource.
However, 85% of consumers search for negative reviews to help them make informed purchasing decisions. This number jumps to 91% for consumers between 18 and 29 years old.
Bad reviews can give customers an idea of what the worst-case scenario might be. They want to know what could go wrong so they can understand how important it is to them.
Too many positive reviews can seem fake to some shoppers, so you have to watch out.
How can consumers tell if a review has been authenticated and is trustworthy?
BrightLocal’s study shows that Facebook and Yelp are the two most trusted review sources for local searches. Google is third.
Out of all these review platforms, Yelp seems to have the most strict rules and regulations.
Yelp’s average review score is 3.65. This is the lowest of all the platforms. Average reviews on other major platforms include 4.42 on Facebook, 4.33 on Google and 4.25 on Tripadvisor.
Therefore, Yelp may be the most reliable place to gauge reviews.
These ratings are important for your bottom line. An extra rating star on Yelp translates into a 5% to 9% revenue growth, which is an impressive but dangerous correlation.
Your brand’s growth can be affected by how well your customers review you. You will undoubtedly receive negative reviews on every platform. How can you respond?
Start by creating a game plan.
Before you react to negative emotions, create a game plan
You can learn a lot about a company by how they handle negative reviews.
Don’t panic. They are not to be ignored. Instead, embrace them.
Some brands like Wendy’s are even using negative reviews as a chance to make a splash on social media and go viral.
You can accept negative reviews however you want, but you must have a plan before you speak to customers.
Customers expect businesses to respond quickly to negative reviews. 51.7% of consumers expect businesses to respond to their negative reviews within seven days.
If you receive a negative review on your website, it is important to act quickly.
Customer service should be your top priority.
You should remember that not all negative reviews can be considered valuable.
There are two types: negative and positive reviews.
First, there are reviews from customers who were disappointed by the experience.
And then, there are the troll types who seek attention and potential monetary gain.
Some people may try to use the leverage of leaving a negative review to their advantage by trying to blackmail you or threatening you with leaving a negative review if they don’t refund you.
You can’t even insure your business against trolls.
Constructive feedback, on the other hand, is a gold mine for any business. It’s a form of direct, valuable, and instructive feedback from those who matter most.
Negative reviews will not go away forever if they are ignored and not addressed.
Companies that ignore these complaints will be able to distinguish themselves from those who have a plan.
Choose a communication strategy that matches your brand’s tone and identity. It is important to maintain consistency across review platforms.
Zappos never fails to respond to negative customer reviews, and they give their responses a positive twist. Take a look at a recent response they gave to a complaint on their Facebook page.
The brand offered to send a replacement pair of shoes and suggested that the customer keep or donate the shoes that aren’t fitting.
With such an attitude, it’s difficult to argue.
Depending on the personality of your brand, you can choose to be friendly and conversational like Zappos or more formal but tactful like Marriott.
No matter what your choice, be authentic. Do not use a template to answer questions. Spend the time to investigate each question and then respond appropriately.
Negative reviews should be seen as an opportunity for you to show that your customer cares.
Here’s what Marina Cheal (Chief Marketing Officer at Reevoo) said last year at the Motor Trader Summit:
Rich reviews increase engagement, which leads to people staying longer on the site. Bad reviews can be a great way to show that you are trustworthy in your handling of problems. This shows that you care about your customer.
Negative reviews can also have an effect on your conversion rates.
Negative reviews can increase your conversion rates
Consumers might be skeptical if your business receives only positive reviews. Some people will not, but others who are more cautious may.
This is a serious problem, especially with fake and paid reviews on nearly every review platform.
Amazon’s fake positive review problem has recently become huge.
The average rating has increased and the average review weight has fallen.
There are even Facebook groups that incentivize people to write fake reviews of Amazon products.
A healthy mix of positive and negative reviews can help you build trust in your company faster.
A study by Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center discovered that likelihood of someone purchasing a product with five reviews is 270% greater than a product with no reviews.
This means that five reviews, good or not, can almost quadruple your purchase volume.
And a mixture of good and bad is helpful so that you don’t fall into the “too-good-to-be-true” category.
What is the healthy balance of positive and negative reviews?
What amount of bad reviews will boost your conversion rates instead of driving customers away?
Anywhere between 4.2 and 4.5 stars is an ideal average.
Sales are not affected by the number of stars. Negative reviews can be mixed with positive ones to reduce buyer skepticism.
You don’t want to have a low average. A lot of customers use rating filters to simplify their searches, so you may not even show up when they search for products if your average reviews are below four stars.
If your ratings are low, don’t fret. It actually doesn’t take a lot to increase your ratings.
A recent study of TripAdvisor found that one-third of the hotels were able to increase their rounded ratings by half a star or more within six months of their first management response.
Here’s what it all boils down into:
Customers are actively looking for trustworthy and authentic businesses. Negative reviews can be a guarantee that a business is authentic.
Negative reviews are a sign of your humanity
Negative reviews can be a great platform for your business to shine. This is a chance to prove that you have real people behind your business.
Customer service does not only involve assisting with a purchase. Customer service is about solving problems before, during, and after a purchase, and keeping them from happening again.
Poor customer service will cost your company big time.
Tons of consumers have abandoned a business due to poor customer service. This number has increased over the past few years, as you can see.
It’s only going up.
So customer service is still a huge deciding factor for customers making purchase decisions and for you retaining existing customers.
According to numbers from Kingfisher Inc, acquiring a new customer is five times as expensive as retaining an existing customer.
Negative reviews can be addressed to keep customers returning.
It is a smart idea to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative.
Your negative reviews can be a way for your company to show its human side.
Positive reviews are a great way to show appreciation to your customers.
Responding to each review can be difficult because you might get a lot of them. It is not uncommon for customer service heroes to respond to all reviews.
All customer service representatives must know how to properly respond.
These are the most important things to remember when responding to negative reviews
1. Find the root cause of the problem. Always verify the words of the reviewer by doing a thorough investigation quick internal investigation with your staff.
It is always a good idea to try and understand the events.
2. Do not let your emotions get in the way. Sometimes reviews can be inaccurate or false. Always remember respectful and factual. In your response, think of Amazon as in the example below.
3. Show genuine empathy. Sometimes, the only thing that a disappointed customer needs is a simple apology.
Customers will feel that you care if you reply to reviews with an honest apology.
4. 4. Take the problem offline. It makes sense to do this if you feel the problem is getting worse. Continue the conversation privately instead of merely commenting back and forth,
5. Respect the rules. Many businesses offer discounts and coupons to make up for their mistakes. However, some platforms consider this to be a violation or even bribery.
As in the previous example, you can email the coupon code or discount rather than posting it on social media.
To defend your brand, don’t forget to tell your side.
Do not be afraid to share your story
You are not always to blame for bad reviews. Your business may be affected if a combination of factors leads to a bad customer experience.
You would do everything possible to prove your innocence if someone falsely accused you of a crime.
You might have to retract a review if it is untrue.
Sometimes, you need to share your side of what really happened.
Future customers who see your page and see negative reviews will be able to read your story and make informed decisions about the facts.
You can turn a negative situation into something positive by being able to gracefully communicate the facts and highlight the benefits of your company.
Satisfying your customers will encourage them to remain loyal to you.
Satisfying unhappy customers encourages loyalty
It is essential to answer every customer review. It’s even more important that you actually solve the problems of your customers.
There is nothing more disappointing than a generic “we apologize for any inconvenience” response that contains only a few meaningless words.
It’s not useful or satisfying. It is annoying.
It is important to be prompt with your detailed solution.
Data from HBR shows that brands that respond to customer issues quickly have more chances to retain customers.
Your customers will pay more for your services and products if you respond quickly.
Customers were willing to pay almost $20 more to get a ticket with an airline that replied to their complaints within five minutes.
The same study also found that wireless customers who had their problems resolved by customer service representatives were willing to pay $8 more per month for their plans.
Even more interesting is the fact that customers are willing to pay $6 extra for wireless services even if they don’t solve their problems. It was just a matter of getting a reply that made customers willing to pay more.
There are certain customer issues that you cannot resolve.
This study shows that empathy, even simple expressions of it, can make a big difference in easing frustration and providing excellent customer service.
Delta’s pizza party is a great example of how brands can provide good customer service through empathy.
They ordered 600 pizzas for their passengers who experienced delays because of severe weather in Atlanta.
Here is what Julieta McCurry (Delta’s Managing Director for U.S. Marketing Communications and Sponsorships) said:
“Empathy always has and continues to drive our experience design, service, and delivery. We renew this commitment with each new year.”
Another benefit of responding to angry customers is engaging them in a conversation. It can be a great way to make a connection with unhappy customers.
It’s a good idea for customer service representatives to sign their initials and names when they respond.
Customers will feel more at ease contacting them later. Many brands use this, including Burt’s Bees.
Encourage customer service agents and customers to include their names on tickets and responses to give it a personal touch.
Negative feedback should be seen as an opportunity to improve.
Negative feedback can be a chance to improve
Customer satisfaction is more important than ever.
Half of all startups fail. This is not only true for tech startups. This is true for businesses in almost every industry.
Take a look at this 2017 graph from Failory. 63% of startups fail in the information sector, which has the highest failure rate.
However, a solid customer retention strategy will increase your chances of success. Review management is an important part of that strategy.
Every piece of feedback that you get is a gift. You can use the information to grow and improve your business.
Asking your customers is the best way to find out if your business is doing well.
This is why so many businesses conduct customer surveys each year.
Big brands spend tons of resources on conducting customer satisfaction surveys even though customers often abandon them without finishing them.
It’s not easy to get customers to take part in surveys. It is therefore important to get voluntary feedback.
It can help you identify and solve key customer pain points. This can lead to increased sales for your company.
Look at Domino’s recovery from the viral prank videos scandal in 2009. In 2009, Domino’s called their product “edible paper”.
Their stock rose from $4 per share to $215 per share in 2017 to 2008.
Be aware that not all customers will leave negative reviews.
Those who do not feel the same way are likely not the only ones. Many customers will feel the same but not express their opinions. They simply leave you unaware.
It is always a good idea to show kindness to unhappy customers and to try to get a second chance. Negative reviews can be used to your advantage for business growth.
You will find real business ideas if you look deeper into the reviews. This is especially true when it comes to digital businesses such as SaaS and other web-based services.
Many of these businesses utilize tools like UserVoice to bring customers into the product development process itself.
Here’s how it works.
Customer service agents encourage customers to submit feature requests in UserVoice if they are unhappy with certain aspects of the product.
If the feature gets enough upvotes, it ends up on the product roadmap.
You can’t get better advice from anyone than your customers. So listen up and take the time to hear their suggestions.
For instance, Buffer used customer feedback to validate the idea of having a video upload feature. This idea was based on a request from a customer.
This feature was quickly implemented by Buffer, and it proved to be a huge success for customer collaboration.
Negative reviews are not to be viewed as threats. Learn from them and use them as an opportunity to improve your company.
Businesses do their best to avoid negative reviews. This is a good thing in many ways.
Negative reviews don’t always have to be negative. They can actually be very helpful.
Trust is built through bad reviews. Fake reviews can be bought as easily as any other service. This makes it hard for customers to find trustworthy businesses.
Negative reviews help to create balance and allow shoppers to see that you are trustworthy from your public reviews. They will ultimately trust your business more due to them.
Negative feedback can also be a goldmine of opportunities. You need to have a plan before you can respond to customers.