Who doesn’t love a compliment? Don’t we all like to be recognized for the quality of our work or how good we look in a new suit?

One of my favorite quotes is by Ken Blanchard: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

When we hear what we do well or learn about changes we can make to improve, it propels us forward. Feedback is the information we need to stay the course or make changes. Online reviews are a public way of offering you the feedback to grow your business. Positive online reviews of your business are like compliments. They are expressions of how others view their experience with you.

respond-negative-online-reviewConsumer reviews are trusted 12 times more favorably than descriptions provided on your website. That’s powerful! We make or imply promises of what people can expect when they do business with us.  When we deliver on the promise, the reviews are generally positive. When we don’t deliver, the reviews are often negative.

The goal, of course, is to secure positive online reviews. Reviews—especially those published on your Google My Business page—are relied upon heavily by those researching your company in advance. Reviews contribute 10% to your Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) rank, so it makes sense to accrue as many positive reviews as possible. To put it in terms of dollars and cents, every star a business earns in a review, contributes to a 5-9% increase in sales.*

What do you do when you receive a negative review? The challenge is significant because the long-term ramifications are detrimental to your business.  If some are critical of your company, then why would others be willing to take a chance on you?

Just a few days ago I was researching the menu of a local restaurant. I haven’t eaten there before and wanted to know what their menu was like. Finding their Google page, I was drawn into the reviews. While I found many good reviews, I also read several bad reviews. Some of them talked about the lack of service by the waitstaff. A few others talked about problems with incorrect tallies on their bill and being charged for items they didn’t order. It seems they had to wrestle with the manager to get their bills straightened out. This wasn’t a single review; there were multiple reviews with the same issue.

Any server can have a bad day so that doesn’t trouble me—especially in a high-traffic area where this restaurant is located. However, having to argue over the final tally on my bill isn’t how I want to spend an evening out. Overall, the reviews turned me off. We opted for our local, dependable take-out eatery instead.

Receiving a negative online review presents a unique set of circumstances. Here are the best practices for responding to negative online reviews:

  1. Respond immediately. You are (or should be) receiving notifications of all reviews, both good and bad. Ideally, you are subscribed to a service that sends you alerts. This is not the time to stick your head in the sand and hope that the review will go away. (It won’t!) Other users will note your timely response, which will reflect positively on their perception of your company.
  2. Respond online and take the conversation offline. Users will respect your engagement in a difficult situation. Offer an apology and a telephone number or email address so that the reviewer can contact you and you can resolve the issue offline.
  3. Once the issue is resolved, ask the user to post another online review in the same forum. Assuming you resolved their issue, the reviewer may be willing to update their review. Their follow-up review stating their satisfaction demonstrates your dedication and responsiveness to your customers. The long-term benefits are absolutely worth the extra effort, not to mention the positive review improves your ratings too!
  4. If you receive the same negative review multiple times, it’s time to look at the internal workings of your organization. Negative feedback creates a climate for improvement. We all have blind spots. If customers have the same bad experience over and over again, it’s time to make a change.

Managing your online presence is a full-time job. If you don’t manage it, the internet will manage it for you – and you may not like the results!

We offer an all-in-one solution that protects your identity, manages your social messaging and provides alerts on reviews. Contact us today for an assessment of your online presence. A solution is more affordable than you think!

*Check out this nifty infographic with everything you need to know about the impact of online reviews. https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/04/importance-of-online-reviews.html