All publicity is good publicity. Perhaps not so much when your internet reviews are in the toilet! Reviews are a huge part of online marketing. They provide both unique, SEO-rich content for the website and trustworthy content for potential customers. There is no getting away from reviews, but how can you deal with negative reviews and try to turn bad reviews into a positive piece of content? Dealing with bad reviews is much easier than you may think!
Interestingly, a study by the marketing and reviews specialists Yotpo, shows that an astonishing 74% of customers do not trust sites that only have positive reviews. The new age of information rich, sales technique aware customers means that many potential customers will ‘smell a rat’, even if there isn’t one, if the reviews are too positive. A healthy level of scepticism is very evident in the modern consumer. Despite that, a really bad review can still have a devastating effect if not dealt with properly.
Should you Remove a Bad Review?
The first thing many people will do on receiving a potentially damaging review is try to remove it. This is easy if it is hosted on your own website, but a bad review posted onto a review site such as TripAdvisor or Yelp can be more difficult. This can take weeks, and in the majority of cases, the review will not be removed anyway. There are better and more effective ways of dealing with a bad review.
In the majority of cases, the review should still be published. As suggested above, if it is in amongst a raft of nice, positive reviews, it will actually act to increase trust in your products and services. It will highlight the greater number of good reviews. However, it is vital that the review is dealt with publicly. Seeking to remove a bad review is usually both futile and expensive.
How to rectify Bad Reviews
Studies show that 95% of customers that post a bad review will return to the site or service if it is dealt with. If you deal with the problem quickly and fairly, the customer will be appeased and will return. If this is done publicly via the bad review, this will turn it into a major positive. It will show other potential customers that mistakes or concerns are taken seriously. It shows that there is potential post-sale support. It shows that you completely back your service and take customer service seriously.
Timing is vital though. A swift reply will have the maximum effect. A delayed response will create the impression that customer reviews are not of primary importance to you, and by the time you look to rectify or redress the customer complaint, they have most likely already dealt with the issue. In providing a rapid response, you are both able to create added value and prove your dedication to the customer experience.
Whilst many review sites suggest that you search every day, this may be a large strain on your customer service resources. Check and respond as fast as possible.
In following up poor reviews, you are actually providing a top-grade service to your customers. This will not go unnoticed. The customer, having publicly dismissed your company, will quite possibly update and upgrade the rating. In fact, depending on your relationship with the customer, you may be able to ask them if you would be willing to update the review.
How not to handle a bad review
In the example below, the review really wasn’t that bad. However, the AirBnB host decided to take offence and respond to the review by complaining about it and following up with a personal attack on their guest by exposing private information about him. I sure wouldn’t want to stay at this place, no matter how good any of the other reviews were! It is far better to respond positively and not threaten or abuse the reviewer.
Lower Bad Review Percentage
Many customers are quicker to complain than praise. By encouraging customers that have had a good experience to leave a review, you can ‘water down’ the bad reviews. There are a number of ways to encourage reviews, as well as reduce the bad ones. A follow up call or message to ask for their feedback, direct, will both provide an opportunity to head off any bad press, as well as ask happy customers to express their pleasure.
Finally, make sure that you learn from the bad, this will help you both ensure that the service meets the expectation, even if that means changing the marketing to ensure that perceptions and expectations meet the reality of the product.