The statistics are scary, over 92% of shoppers will be persuaded by an online review. Why then can bad reviews be good for business?
By Martina Mercer
This article explores:
• Preventing bad reviews
• Dealing with viral reviews
• How to turn a bad review into a positive
• How to satisfy and unsatisfied customer
• How to remove a bad review
We know online reviews can increase conversions, they can enhance reputations and they can even increase SEO but what about bad reviews? With 70% of consumers trusting a stranger’s review online, just how can a company get over a bad review?
A few bad reviews in a few hundred are said to be advantageous for a brand, it gives you more credibility, makes you more real and gives your brand a human feel but there’s a fine line between a few and several that could damage sales.
In a report published by eConsultancy the statistics revealed that:
• 4% of shoppers will abandon a purchase after reading one negative review
• 24% of shoppers say it takes two negative reviews for them to change their mind
• 39% of shoppers consider three bad reviews to be limit as they choose to shop elsewhere.
Prevention is better than the cure
Of course, prevention is the best course of action for handling bad feedback, you can do this by staying active on social media and responding to feedback in real time, resolving issues. Following up on purchases with feedback requests so you know about any negative experiences first.
On site live chat can capture customers and resolve problems before they leave feedback while the old fashioned telephone can add a more personalised customer service solution.
Dealing with a bad review that’s gone viral
Once a bad review is live it has the potential for ruining your reputation, yet if you deal with it in a mature and professional manner you could actually change the reputation of your business for the better.
The trick is to communicate quickly. Keep a keen eye on every piece of feedback, set up google alerts so you receive new results on reviews of your products or services first and then respond.
Straight to the top
Although a customer service team will be well equipped to deal with negative feedback on your own website or on social media, if a bad review has hit an independent review site such as TripAdvisor, it’s best to allow the person with the highest chain of command to respond.
This gives the customer confidence, it shows they’re being listened to by those at the very top and it shows other visitors that you care about consumers.
When responding to comments, no matter how defamatory or misleading, do not disagree. Even a simple defence of your products can be taken out of context while your response could be published elsewhere.
An irate reviewer is more likely to share their bad experience especially if their anger is fuelled. Always agree, the customer is always right. Always be professional and always offer to take the discussion elsewhere.
Taking it outside
If you can persuade your customer to talk through email or over the phone you remove the risk of an online attack that never reaches a resolution. A customer is less likely to be irate on the phone or one to one, as without an audience many soon calm down.
In order to show that you are listening to negative feedback, first try to satisfy the customer, respond to their concerns and then follow up by highlighting how you’ve taken the feedback on board to improve your products or services. Such as hiring more staff to ensure the phone’s answered quicker, more delivery options, better packaging so items aren’t damaged, extended customer care hours.
Invite them to return
Only a reviewer of the admin of an independent feedback site can remove a bad review. You can encourage the removal by offering a replacement product or by asking for a second chance. This time, make sure you go beyond the book to please the customer then ask politely for another review.
Many will delete the first review if they feel their issue has been resolved and their needs met.
This can all increase customer loyalty, while giving your business a platform in which to air some of your ethics and your approach to customer service. Consumers understand that not every site is perfect while a great response to a bad review can even raise your reputation.
If you resolve the problem and show you’ve responded quickly you’ll enhance the buying confidence of new customers as they see you take feedback seriously and are available when needed.
Asking for negative feedback
Many companies actually ask for negative feedback, they need it in order to deliver the absolute best to their customers. Of course, this is usually on products or services that aren’t live or are just in the testing phase so this feedback does not affect reviews.
Polls on Facebook are a good way to gain an opinion as you provide the answers so customers simply check a, b, c or d. Feedback like this is invaluable to increasing sales and building consumer loyalty.