Online reviews can be the difference between life or death for a local business.
Whether you realize it or not, prospects are checking your online ratings before choosing whether to buy from your local business. You could be losing hundreds or even thousands of customers just because of a lower-than-desired star rating.
In an age when 86% of consumers are influenced by negative reviews for local businesses, you can’t afford to let a few squeaky wheels dominate your online ratings with no response. Fortunately, there are many ways to turn negative reviews into a positive for you and your customers.
Here are a few suggestions to help you productively handle negative reviews.
Respond Promptly and Politely to Negative Reviews
Customers like seeing that a company is responsive, especially if it’s a local business. It shows that you genuinely care about the customer and aren’t just out to sell whatever you can.
Reply to negative reviews as soon as possible with a polite apology, questions, and helpful information for the reviewer. If you turn a negative experience into an opportunity to provide customer service, prospects will see that as a positive.
Better yet, go the extra mile to offer unhappy customers solutions like reimbursement or a voucher. Prospects will likely be more impressed with your local business than they would be if they only saw positive reviews.
Take the Customer’s Issue Offline When Possible
Sometimes customer issues can be resolved with a simple reply to their negative online review. But in most cases, it’s probably better to take the issue offline. You may need to have a brief conversation with the customer to fully understand their problem and find a solution that works for them.
Online review sites often provide businesses with the opportunity to reach out to reviewers via email, phone, or another contact method. For example, Yelp allows you to reply to online reviewers with an email.
Once you’ve resolved the problem that resulted in the negative review, the customer may choose to update their review. If not, you might still be able to leave a brief comment saying the issue has been resolved on the review site. This will help mitigate the negative effect on your online reputation.
Use Feedback from Online Reviews to Improve Your Local Business’s Product or Service
When your local business reviews include a lot of similar comments from different customers, that may signal an opportunity to improve a product or service.
Are you getting repeated complaints that your product setup is confusing? It may be a good idea for your local business to provide a clear visual guide, hire a user experience consultant, or maybe even create a how-to video. Do negative review givers often bring up a feature your service model is missing? Use that feedback as a direction for future development.
Use positive and negative reviews alike to figure out which aspects of your local business are doing well and which could use a little more help. If you develop according to customers’ feedback, you’ll get better reviews and more business.
Don’t forget to tell customers when you’ve developed your offerings in response to their feedback. Customers will love knowing they contributed to your new, easier-to-navigate app or low-calorie beverage!
Use a (Free) Online Reputation Management Service
There are many reputation management tools out there to help you gather reviews, respond to negative ratings, and more. We think the easiest and lowest-risk tool you can use is Kudo, a forever-free review management system.
With Kudo, you can request reviews in seconds by simply entering a customer’s name and email address and letting Kudo do the rest. Your account only takes a few minutes to set up and doesn’t require a credit card.
Get Kudo today to increase your positive online ratings and effectively deal with negative reviews. We promise you won’t regret it! GET IT FOR FREE >