Rules for Handling Bad Reviews
Research indicates that 84% of people rely on online reviews at least as much as a personal recommendation from a friend. Having said that, it is incredibly important for you to make sure that every negative review is properly handled.
Reviews can contribute significantly to your business' credibility. Moreover, 90% of buyers read at least one online review before making a purchase. According to research, 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. That being said, it is extremely important to ensure you receive a high number of positive reviews.
However, it is not always as simple as that. At times, it is unavoidable to receive negative feedback. Even when a business doesn't deserve negative feedback, it receives it every day. It's true that some businesses deserve negative reviews, and also that sometimes the best of intentions can go wrong.
In the event that your company will reach that point, it's important to know when and how to properly respond when those reviews appear. Here are some tried-and-true damage control tips for handling a bad review and some general best strategies for responding to any review.
Here are a few general guidelines for responding to reviews:
Let's start by talking about some standard best practices for responding to any review.
- Your replies are visible to others. It is therefore important to maintain a level of professionalism and politeness online at all times.
- Always respond within a reasonable timeframe. The best turnaround time for reviews is 24 hours or less, but most people expect a reply within 7 days.
- Be brief in your responses. You may need to elaborate depending on the situation. You should determine whether an appropriate follow-up is required via direct message, email, or a phone call based on the response.
- If necessary, move your correspondence to another platform that is better suited for long-form communication.
- No matter what the reviewer says, express your gratitude for their willingness to share their honest opinion.
- It is important to create a sense of community, so canned or automatic responses aren't the best option. You can use templates to save yourself some time, but make sure the messages sound human.
How to respond to negative reviews
Here are a few tips that can make replying to bad reviews easier now that you know general guidelines for managing online reviews:
- You shouldn't take this personally. Having a negative customer experience does not mean that you are a bad business. Don't get caught up in a few bad reviews, especially when there are so many positive ones.
- Whenever you encounter negativity, respond with positivity. It is important to remember that others will be able to see your response and may be able to provide clarification. Critics won't edit their reviews if you are defensive. You'll only further damage your reputation.
- Take a proactive approach. Make contact with those who have written negative reviews and try to resolve their concerns. Check out those claims and verify them thoroughly.
- If you make a mistake, apologize, but don't take responsibility for things you can't control. Whenever you can fix something, describe what steps you are taking to make that happen in the present and to prevent it from occurring again in the future.
How to prevent bad reviews:
Despite what you may think, most customers are not actually looking for a bad review. They are looking for quality and reliable service. It is not uncommon for them to just want to be heard when this does not happen. Making yourself reachable when issues arise is the key to being ready.
Feedback surveys would be a perfect solution to this problem. Get feedback about your company from customers by asking them to fill out a quick survey. This will help you identify areas where you may be falling short. Customer service "cracks" may not have been visible to you before, and there are opportunities for them to be fixed before they cause a negative review.
It will also give you the opportunity to solve their problem with a solution, thus avoiding negative reviews, since you will be able to address their concerns directly instead of forcing them online.
What is the best time to ask customers for feedback? As soon as they have had an opportunity to interact with your business. With Pluspoint, for instance, feedback is automatically collected when it's most likely to be collected, since it syncs with your CRM or practice management software. As a result, you can identify which components of your business are functioning well-and you can better understand and fix flaws in your customer-experience flow.
We would be happy to show you how Pluspoint works in a personal demo if you have questions about how it could work for your business. Try the service for 21 days for free to see how it works.