Nothing keeps us up at night quite like a negative online review. For those who pride themselves on the quality of their services and products, discovering that someone – or, even worse, multiple people – left a disparaging review of your business can be a frustrating ordeal. It’s easy to simply dismiss these negative reviews and shift blame onto the customer, telling ourselves “Most people love our product. This person must not know what they are talking about” or “Whatever they complained about must’ve been a slip-up. Surely it’s a one-time thing”– but even if these things are true, taking a hands-off approach is the last thing you want to do.
The importance of online reviews is well known. According to one survey, 90% of consumers say they read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (which are the gold-standard of conversion-driving referrals). Needless to say, considering these statistics, it is imperative that your reviews be positive. So, when a negative review arises – and it inevitably will – it is important to act quickly. Ignoring it will only make matters worse, because by ignoring a negative review, you ignore its root cause, and so long as this root cause is not addressed, more negative reviews are bound to surface. So, if a negative review is keeping you up at night, that is a good thing. That means you are aware of how important it is to take action.
So how, exactly, should you take action? The first step is to acknowledge the issue raised by the customer. If it is something that can be fixed, great. If it isn’t, you can still work towards making things right by providing the customer with amazing customer service and some sort of consolation. There’s no guarantee that they will be receptive to you, but it’s important to try, nonetheless. Customers whose complaints are addressed and resolved are twice as likely to try the product or service again (and amend their review in the future). Even if your efforts at reconciliation are unsuccessful, don’t let one or two negative reviews bother you too much. Instead, focus on garnering even more positive reviews to diminish the effect that the negative ones have on consumer perceptions toward your business.