Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
It’s no secret that online reviews are an essential component of the decision-making process. According to a study by BrightLocal, 97% of consumers search for businesses online, and 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business (2018).
If you currently don’t have a process in place to collect authentic online reviews, you’re doing your business a disservice. If you don’t have a process in place because you’re afraid of negative reviews, you need to keep reading.
Your business needs negative reviews.
Yes, you read that right. Negative reviews can actually help your business, and here’s why. 85% of consumers look for negative reviews in order to make informed purchase decisions. For consumers between the ages of 18 and 29, this number jumps to 91%.
Negative reviews establish authenticity.
Even the best companies make mistakes, so it’s not uncommon to have a few negative reviews. If every review you have online is positive, consumers will begin to question their validity. If you think about it, would you trust the opinion of someone who never said one thing negative? Probably not. The same principle applies online.
Your SEO will improve no matter what.
A negative review, even if unseen by the consumer, will still contribute to your company’s ranking on Google and other search engines. In other words, the more feedback you receive — regardless of its nature — the more visible you are when a potential client is searching for a business to perform a job.
Negative reviews tell the full story.
Today’s consumers are extremely educated and involved during the buying process. They like to know exactly what they are getting themselves into, good or bad. Oddly enough, there is a sense of security in knowing the worst-case scenario ahead of time. If the severity of the complaint is minimal, chances are the negative review won’t matter. However, if your reviews point to serious, reoccurring issues, you may want to dig a little deeper.
Negative reviews provide you with opportunities.
It’s important to remember that negative reviews provide you with an opportunity to showcase how much you care about your customers. If a client posts a negative review, it’s important to respond quickly and adequately address the concern. How a company handles complaints can be very telling, so make sure you have a plan to tackle them.
Here are a couple more tips for dealing with negative reviews:
- Don’t ignore feedback that is less than complimentary; address it head-on.
- Do your research before you respond to figure out where the breakdown may have occurred.
- Don’t take negative reviews personally; be respectful and polite in your responses.
- Follow up with the customer offline with a phone call to ensure all issues have been resolved.