Three Cheers for Negative Reviews
Most people would not instinctively be happy for their businesses to receive a negative review. We all want positive feedback for obvious reasons. While you should take pride in your positive reviews you should not be so quick to shy away from the negative ones. These reviews put tremendous opportunity in the palm of your hands.
It’s All in How You Handle It
A negative review in and of itself does not necessarily do damage to your business. How you respond to it—or not—can definitely do damage to your business. Your response can also benefit your business.
A review, whether positive or negative, gives you the chance to connect with a customer. It also gives you the chance to show others who see the review how you handle feedback and how you treat your customers.
With every response to an online review, you can win over the reviewer as well as anyone else who sees the review and your response. The worst case scenario is that your response does not change the reviewer’s opinion of your business. But, this does not hurt you any more than if you did nothing. In a way, you could adopt the attitude that you have nothing to lose and a whole lot to potentially gain by addressing negative reviews head-on.
An Apology is Not Always Agreement
If your ego has a tendency to prevent you from offering an apology to a disgruntled customer, consider this—when you tell a customer that you are sorry they had an unpleasant experience, you are not necessarily agreeing with their perspective on the situation. You are simply saying you feel bad that they did not have a better experience. That’s all.
So, now that you can check your ego at the door, let’s look at the different approaches you can take to negative online reviews:
- You can apologize for the problem
- You can simply acknowledge the situation
- You can thank the reviewer for alerting you to a problem
- You can offer a means of making better
It takes time out of a person’s day to write a review, positive or negative. At the very least, your acknowledgement of the review shows respect for that and therefore for the person.
You’re Not Perfect
No person is perfect and therefore no business is perfect either. Open your mind to this fact and let yourself take advantage of the unique window into your business that customers have. They see and experience it in ways you never could—and their reviews could be invaluable to you as a result. A customer review can alert you to this, giving you the ability to make positive and needed changes. That is worth thanks indeed—and it could just be your ticket to future positive reviews!
You Have the Power
You have no control whatsoever over what your customers do. You do, however, have complete control over what you do in response. You can choose to ignore negative reviews and hope that nobody else sees them. If you do this, you not only risk others seeing the reviews but also seeing your lack of response.
Addressing these seemingly “bad” reviews up front puts you in the driver’s seat and shows people—and search engines—that you really do focus on your customers.