Many businesses stand back from engaging with online reviews because of they are afraid that negative reviews will significantly harm their business.
However this is a misplaced perception. Everyone knows that no business is perfect and that sometimes things can go wrong. So most people will be wary if they only see five star reviews.
Also customers will post reviews on third party site irrespective of whether that business engages with them. They are now an integral part of business today.
Any online review, positive or negative, can be used to increase trust in a company or brand, especially when a negative review is handled well and the customer who posted it ends up receiving a positive resolution to their issue. This can benefit a brand in two ways:
- The complaining customer is offered a solution to their problems, which can potentially lead to a positive review replacing the negative one
- Potential customers see your company resolving a customer issue publicly, demonstrating great customer service and so reinforcing trust in your company.
When faced with negative online reviews, if the situation is handled properly your customer and your company come out as winners.
Here are five important tips for handling negative reviews?
- Respond quickly, positively and personally. And don’t get emotional.
- Show empathy with the customer who left the negative review
- Compensate for the mistake even if it was not your fault
- Show how you will make things better for future customers
- Don’t always completely resolve the issue in public. Sometime email or phone can be more effective.
And to do this effectively and consistently, it is important that the company has a process in place to monitor and deal with online reviews, and that someone has ownership of it.
Of course, there will still be the occasional awkward person who doesn’t want an issue resolved. Dealing with awkward customers is probably a topic for another blog post. The simplest additional rule to follow, courtesy of IBM’s social media guidelines, is “don’t pick fights”, but do defend your business and brand if necessary.
Online reviews can be a powerful tool for any company to build trust, demonstrate quality customer service and so build a strong online reputation for the brand and the business.