Your brand reputation is very important when doing business online. It’s never easy receiving criticism, especially in the form of negative reviews. To some, it may feel like the end of the world, but don’t worry! Negative reviews can be turned into a good thing for you and your future clientele. In fact, online reputation repair is vital to establishing a long lasting business online. Below we have tips to help transform those one star reviews into five star ones.
1. Come to Terms with Negative Reviews
One of the hardest parts about negative reviews is accepting them. However, learning to come to terms with negative reviews will allow you to turn them into something positive for both you and your clientele.
David Hoos from the conversion optimization firm, The Good states: “Negative reviews are part of the price of doing business, there will always be complaints. Reacting negatively is probably one of the worst things you could do. Often times, they can help you. If a consumer doesn’t seen any negative reviews for a product, it can arouse suspicion.”
2. Don’t Fear Negative Reviews/Change your Viewpoint
Going along with the first tip, it is good to change your overall outlook on negative reviews. The change in viewpoint can help produce better outcomes for your clientele.
Marcus Harjani, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at FameMoose writes:
“Negative reviews are somewhat inevitable, but they don’t have to be feared. In fact, we should treat negative reviews as product feedback gold. User feedback is a critical component of our product development process and feedback isn’t always good. We gain the best insights about our product and user experience from negative feedback . . . there will be no better champion of your product than a user who had concerns listened to and was thoughtfully supported by your company.”
3. Respond to ALL of Your Negative Reviews
Mark Nicholson, VP of marketing for NiceJob Inc suggests, “It’s also worth the effort to respond to all negative online reviews due to visibility, as other potential customers will see your efforts when you respond to online reviews, positive or negative, you’re not just responding to a customer. You’re responding to everyone.”
Responding to all the negative reviews makes everyone feel heard and can change a negative experience into a positive one. Which brings me to our next tip.
4. Listen to Your Customers
One of the most important aspects of communication is the act of listening. By lending an ear you automatically create a connection between you and a customer. This is something David Hoos of The Good also has advice about:
“When someone leaves a negative review, stop, breathe, and listen. Try to look for a point of agreement.”
If you’re not willing to listen to the shortcomings of your business through the eyes of your customers then you’re not ready to take your business to the next level.
5. Acknowledge the Complaint/Issue
Abhisheck Rungta, the Founder and CEO of Indus Net Technologies advises, “Acknowledge the reviewer and accept the lapses, if any. It is critical to think of the consumer’s perspective. Something that may not look like a lapse on your part may be a big issue for the consumer.”
Sometimes the best way to turn a situation from bad to good is to simply acknowledge your own part and show your customers you want to make that first step towards fixing the problem.
6. Apologize and Establish Resolution
An apology can go a long way in making a situation go from negative to positive, and it will be what your customer wants to hear first. You should also clarify your intent.
Nancy Friedman, customer service expert, writes, “Apologize to them even though they don’t care if you’re sorry. An apology and a resolution is what they want to hear. A typical interaction might go like this: First, we apologize for the situation and your inconvenience. What’s most important is that we make you happy and resolve your problem/issue.”
7. Fix the Problem
Kent Lewis, President and Founder of Anvil Media, Inc. writes, “Fix the issue and communicate how you’ve ensured it won’t happen again. Sometimes, customers are more interested in protecting others and are less concerned about their own well-being. Either way, it’s smart business.”
The absolute, best way to create a positive experience for your customer is not just by responding but by truly following through to fix what needs to be fixed. Showing you are true to your word is the best way to win people over.
8. Have the Business Owner or Manager Respond
Beyond just being heard, being heard by someone who can truly change a problem into something positive is important to your consumers.
Mark Nicholson of NiceJob also suggests that “Many negative reviews are best dealt with when a manager or the business owner personally responds. This helps remedy the situation when a customer feels their issue is being managed by someone of authority. In several cases, this has led customers to remove their previous negative review, or edit it to be positive.”
9. Make a Post Explaining Your Side
Dr. Gayle Carson of the Carson Research Center writes: “Make a post, or response, explaining the situation and all the circumstances. There are always two sides to the story.”
A lot of the times, people are understanding. Explaining your side, without making excuses or being argumentative, can show you are human, that you aware of what led up to the problem and therefore, know what to do to move forward.
10. Respond to Negative Reviews Immediately
RaShea Drake, B2B Analyst with Verizon says, “I guess my biggest tip is to acknowledge the issue immediately. The longer you wait, the longer you reinforce the notion that your brand/company doesn’t care about your customers.”
When you see a negative review pop up, answer it immediately. If it is a quick fix, take care of it right then and there. Customers will be pleased with this reaction.
11. Establish a Timeline
Part of assuring a customer that you want them to have a positive experience is making sure the problem is being taken care of in a timely manner (if it can’t be fixed right then and there).
Traci Garcia of SiteJabber states, “Letting people know your timeline for fixing/addressing the issue is important too. It should be pretty specific and if you can’t fix it by the time you’ve stated, follow up to let them know. As long as they feel like you understand their situation and are working hard to address their complaint, they will appreciate the effort and be more likely to become a loyal customer.”
12. Empathize, Don’t Get Defensive
Kyle White, Chief Executive of VeryConnect says, “It’s easy to let emotions get the better of you when you receive reviews that don’t align with how you see your product. You might read the review and think “that’s not true” and get too defensive. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and make it clear that you empathize with their perspective.”
Showing empathy and understanding immediately shows that you care. By empathizing you can begin to build a relationship with your consumer, leading to a positive experience for both of you.
13. Take Time to Reflect
Alex Belanger, Digital PR Specialist at Seoplus+ writes:
“Keep an eye out for recurring complaints and reviews. If more than a few people have the same problem, that should signal you that the mentioned aspect of your business has an issue and should be targeted immediately in order to prevent future complaints with that regard. . . Your business should always strive to be better, and this is a great tactic to isolate the areas your business needs improvement.”
Treat negative reviews like windows into your own company. By reflecting on how you are performing you can begin to improve and create more positive customer experiences in the future.
14. Handwritten Apology
Shearly Reyes, Manager and Digital Marketing at iHealthSpot suggests:
“Something that one of our dental practices do is that they not only reply to negative and positive reviews online, the patients are also mailed a handwritten note with either a thank you or an apology from either the practice administrator or the physician himself. . . People feel heard. We’ve had more negative reviews removed with that one simple act than anything else we’ve done. . . when you can, take it beyond the digital world and into the real world.”
Taking the time to go the extra mile for a customer shows how important they are to you. To create positivity it is always good to show sincerity by writing a note or showing it in any way you can.
15. Ask for Clarification
David Hoos from the conversion optimization firm, The Good also suggests, “If you don’t think you deserve the attack, say so, but also ask for clarification. Make it clear that you want to get to the bottom of the issue so you can take quick action to resolve it.”
The best way to turn something positive is to make sure you and the customer are on the same page. By asking for clarification, you are giving the client more of a platform to speak and be listened to.
16. Give the Customer a Call
Nancy Friedman, customer service expert, suggests, “If at all possible handle the negative review/compliant via phone. If there is absolutely no way to do this; then you’re at a big disadvantage. A customer representative to customer phone call answer is always preferable so there’s no misinterpretation and the consumer knows the issue or problem is being handled to their satisfaction.”
Simply replying online isn’t always the best. Taking it offline shows that you are aware how important the situation is and that you want to personally listen to the customer.
17. Give Credit
Carl Gould, business growth strategist and CEO writes, “I take one of their suggestions, implement that suggestion, and then give them credit publicly for their guidance.”
In many cases, consumers are the champions at pointing out how you can improve. By giving them credit for helping you fix a problem you can build a more personal relationship with your customer. It also shows others that you want to be there for your clientele.
18. Have a Face-to-Face Meeting
Idoia Gkikas of Tri State Gate says, “In our industry, face-to-face, old-fashioned customer service is the best approach. Company owner Matt Prato met with the client at his home for an hour and listened to his detailed feedback.”
Just like taking the time to write a note or talk to a customer on the phone, it is equally good to sit down and personally meet your customer (if possible). This shows another level of sincerity at wanting to listen and fix the problem.
19. Ask the Customer what You Can Do
Kent Lewis of Anvil Media Inc. also suggests, “Ask what you can do to make it better/make them happy. It’s always better to ask what would make them happy.”
People want to have more control over a bad situation and allowing them to choose the outcome is a good way of ensuring that.
20. Thank Your Customers
Alexis Zanger, Senior Marketing Manager for Aegis Software Corp. writes, “Thank them for their feedback and let them know how valuable their input is to you.”
Your customers are your champions! They will give you honest feedback that can help improve your company and public relations between you and your clientele. Take the time to thank them and they will be more than happy to work with you. This is one of the best ways to change a negative situation into a positive one.
The Smart Hack: Online Reputation Repair
Online reputation repair is vital to succeeding online. However, if you aren’t to the stage yet where you are receiving customer reviews, we can also help you learn how to start your freelance business and find clients. Finding customers and continuing to provide them with positive experiences is one of the most important steps in succeeding in business.
When you get negative online reviews the best way to turn them into positive customer experiences is to show sincerity and begin to build personal relationships with your consumers. In a world of constant communication, all customers want is to be heard and shown they are cared about. All these tips are a great way of beginning to start that process!